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City of Morris could lose $52,000 in Local Government Aid in 2013

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MORRIS, Minn. - The City of Morris may face a $52,000 cut in Local Government Aid for 2013 if the Minnesota Legislature does not make adjustments to the way LGA is distributed, the Morris City Council learned at their meeting Tuesday.

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In his report to the council, City Manager Blaine Hill (who was not at Tuesday's meeting), said, "Apparently, the [total] LGA funding from the state will be the same, but the way it is given out through the formula will be different. Some cities will receive more funding, but some will receive less."

According to numbers released by the House Research Department of the Minnesota House of Representatives, Morris' certified LGA allocation was about $2.11 million. In 2013, Morris is only projected to receive about $2.06 million.

A release from the League of Minnesota Cities said there are two main reasons for the aid changes.

First, the distribution amounts for LGA over the last two years have not been calculated using the formulas that are written into state statutes. When distributions in 2013 return to being distributed based on the formulas - which use factors like population change, accidents per capita, household size and commercial-industrial tax base - allocations for cities will change.

Second, city data has changed, thanks to new information from things like the 2010 census, which impacts the allocations. The League of Minnesota Cities also noted that the numbers released are only estimates, and won't be certified until July.

In an interview on Wednesday, Hill said that he has made Rep. Torrey Westrom and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen aware of the issues, and both were surprised but said they would work on the issue. To address the problem, the Legislature would need to pass a new tax bill, said Hill.

Hill said that if changes aren't made to the 2013 allocation, the city will have to make cuts or increase taxes to make up the difference.

At Tuesday's meeting, council member Jeff Miller urged his colleagues "bend some ears a little bit" with Westrom and Ingebrigtsen and let them know that "funny math" makes it difficult to develop a city budget.

"It's sort of tough to run the city business when you're not sure what you have coming when they say it's coming and it's not coming," said Miller.

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Kim Ukura is the editor of the Morris Sun Tribune. 

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