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Minnesota Legislature

Program for DNR asset preservation

Published (3/6/2009)
By Sue Hegarty
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A recent Department of Natural Resources’ report indicates the department is about $120 million behind schedule in facility maintenance and preservation.

Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul) sponsors a bill that creates a plan for the replacement and preservation of DNR buildings and recreation facilities.

HF983 would establish the Natural Resources Asset Preservation and Replacement program, patterned after a similar program for facility repairs and replacement at higher education institutions.

Hansen said the program is a way to streamline requests for DNR bonding projects so that legislators are not competing for funding by introducing dozens of bonding proposals each session.

The bill was held over March 3 by the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division for possible inclusion in recommendations to the House Capital Investment Finance Division or the division’s omnibus bill.

According to the report, there is $25 million in deferred maintenance projects, such as roofing, plumbing, heating, electrical and structural upgrades, for DNR buildings. Another $15 million is needed for repairs to septic and sewer systems, water resources and parking lots. In addition, an estimated $80 million is necessary to upgrade recreational areas, such as campgrounds, state trails, wayside rest areas and water access locations.

If enacted, the program would allow up to 10 percent of any appropriation to be used for design costs for eligible projects, which would be prioritized by the DNR. By Jan. 15 each year, a list of the projects completed the previous year, as well as proposed projects for the current year, would need to be submitted to the commissioner of finance and the Legislature.

A companion bill, SF919, sponsored by Senate President James Metzen (DFL-South St. Paul), awaits action by the Senate Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Budget Division.

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