Greetings from St. Cloud on the CLE trail!

My friend Jay has a theory — toss a rock in a pack of dogs and see who yelps.

Apparently Dick Day thinks it’s a “routine matter,” business as usual, to exclude the township and include only the county in a power plant’s personal property tax exemption. Sen. Day thinks it’s appropriate to introduce exemption legislation prior to bring it to the local governments. What’s worse, he thinks it’s appropriate to fail to educate local governments about Host Fee Agreements, without which they give up significant revenue available to them.

Nancy Prehn has succeeded in raising the issue that Waseca County and Blooming Grove Township have the power to negotiate a Host Fee Agreement. Since Nancy’s been on this issue, the county and township have learned about their rights and passed resolutions that they approve of the exemption contingent on negotiation of a Host Fee Agreement, and thanks to Nancy’s work, the county rescinded its prior resolution with a blanket approval and no Host Fee Agreement.

Legislation is pending, delayed to the Special Session. Sen. Dick Day authored SF 2091 and Rep. Connie Ruth authored HF2372, and both are now incorporated into HF785.

Look at language in the bill they authored — only the county is named, no township approval necessary, and NO HOST FEE AGREEMENT IS REQUIRED. See for yourself:

22.23 (5) have received, by resolution, the approval from the
22.24 governing body of the county for the exemption of personal
22.25 property under this subdivision.

Someone ought to fix this error and protect the county and township right to a Host Fee Agreement! One would think it would be the local elected officials, Sen. Dick Day and Rep. Connie Ruth, who provide leadership and work to correct the legislation they authored on behalf of their constituents.

Here’s what Dick Day has to say… note how he tries to minimize his role as author of the bill… note how he tries to diminish Nancy’s effective work… note how he does not commit to bringing the legislation into line with the intent of the county and township — he ducks his responsibility!

Contrary to Claim

To the Editor:

Contrary to Kimber Prehn’s claim in his Tuesday letter to the Waseca County News, there was never any attempt by either the Waseca County Board or the Minnesota legislature, Rep. Connie Ruth and myself in particular, to deceive anyone regarding Simon Industries’ request for an exemption from personal property taxes on the new power plant they would like to build in Blooming Grove Township.

First, I am certain that the Waseca County Board acted in good faith and in the best interests of the citizens of the county when it welcomed the jobs and new revenue that the project will bring into our community.

Second, the legislature authorized the exemption as a routine matter to encourage economic growth and support new power sources–as they have done for every project like this in the state for the last 10 years. Rep. Ruth and I have no role in this matter beyond simply seeking the exemption. All other details remain to be negotiated as the county and township boards see fit. And that’s as it should be. Neither Rep. Ruth nor myself wants to interfere in this local matter, and I’m disappointed that Kimber and Nancy Prehn are so eager to accuse the two of us of sinister motives.

If the Prehns are successful in shutting down the project entirely or sending it to another county–which I suspect is their true intention–it would be our loss. Do they understand that, along with providing safe, reliable, and efficient electric power for our area, the company will be paying ordinary property taxes? And corporate income taxes? And salaries and payroll taxes? If Simon decides to locate somewhere else, the jobs and money will re-locate as well.

In conversations my staff and I had with Mrs. Prehn, it was clear that she was uninformed about the legislative process, about the electric utility industry in Minnesota, and about the significant benefits our community will derive from this project. Perhaps as she becomes more familiar with all the facts, she will appreciate the efforts we have all made to do the right thing.

I called Nancy Prehn today and proposed that we conduct any further conversations in public at township or county board meetings rather than on the pages of the newspaper. As soon as I am able, considering the current legislative schedule, I will attend Blooming Grove Township Board and Waseca County Board meetings.

Sen. Dick Day

You can call Dick Day at (651) 296-9457 and Connie Ruth at (651) 296-5368. Remind them who they represent!

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