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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R)

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Thursday, April 30, 2009
Since a devastating fire destroyed North Star Foods in St. Charles a few weeks back, much of my time in St. Paul has been spent searching for solutions to help this company and this community deal with this tragedy. More than 200 families in St. Charles are affected by this disaster, which makes a tremendous impact on the City’s property tax base, as well as in the school population. Because of this, I have authored legislation that would allocate $1.3 million in emergency funds to the area in order to compensate for losses. Because of this fire, the City of St. Charles could lose roughly 25% of its tax base. That’s why I’m sponsoring a bill that would dedicate $800,000 to the community in order to make up for lost property taxes, as well as lost usage for electrical utilities and city water and sewer revenues. The St. Charles School District could also be significantly impacted by the North Star Foods destruction, as up to 75 students could be lost under a worst case scenario. As part of legislation I’m proposing, nearly $500,000 would be available to the St. Charles School District for pupil replacement aid. At this point, its undecided whether these bills will proceed as stand-alone proposals that would be approved by both the House and Senate, or whether it will be combined with a Red River flood relief package in order to create one comprehensive disaster relief funding bill. But I am working with the House Finance Committee as well as the Governor’s Office in order to find the best possible answer. With less than three weeks remaining in session, I expect action to be taken on the St. Charles relief bills relatively quickly. I will be sure to keep you posted on any further developments.
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