Minn. mayors praise boost in state funding

Several Minnesota mayors are praising the boost in state funding that's coming their way after several years of budget austerity.

Eight mayors appeared at a state Department of Revenue news conference Wednesday to highlight the recent passage of an $80 million increase in state aid to cities, as well as a new sales tax exemption on local government purchases. DFL lawmakers pushed the measures as a way to lower the property tax burden.

Dave Smiglewski, the mayor of Granite Falls, said his city will receive an additional $186,000 in Local Government Aid. He said the money will help them catch up on some delayed projects and restore some recent budget cuts, including a police officer position.

"Some of those things will happen, and we can do it without raising property taxes," Smiglewski said. "Won't that be fun for once?"

Cloquet Mayor Bruce Ahlgren was the only one in the group who said his city is planning to reduce its property tax levy.

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