A sewer being installed; the Met Council plans regional sewer infrastructure.

Bill would require that Met Council get Legislature’s OK on housing plans, funds

The Legislature would gain control of the Metropolitan Council’s housing purse strings, under a bill sponsored by Rep. Bob Vogel (R-Elko New Market).HF1969 would also make the Metropolitan Council’s long-range plans and goals for affordable and life-cycle housing in the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area subject to legislative approval.[Right: Rep. Bob Vogel]The House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee laid the bill over Wednesday for possible inclusion in a later bill. There is no Senate companion.Kim Crockett, chief operating officer at the Center for the American Experiment, questioned whether housing falls under the Metropolitan Council’s legislative authority. She praised Vogel’s bill for “reasserting the prerogative of the Legislature in the area of housing.”Judd Schetnan, Metropolitan Council government affairs director, agreed with Crockett that housing isn’t like the sewage or transit systems his agency runs. But Vogel’s bill would make housing more of a system than it is today, he said, and he asked whose interests the bill served. “We’ve not heard from cities who have asked for these changes.”One local official backing the bill is Plymouth Mayor Kelli Slavik, who told committee members the Metropolitan Council goal for her city — 932 new units of affordable housing in the decade ending in 2030 — “doesn’t make sense. Continue Reading

A sewer being maintained by the Met Council.

Metropolitan Council water plan gets feedback; new plan addresses Twin Cities concerns

A new plan aimed at preserving water resources in the metro area is set to begin next month.A public hearing for the Metropolitan Council’s Water Resources Management Plan, which is part of a larger 30-year plan, called Thrive MSP 2040, was held Tuesday.The council will adopt the new water resources plan in April, and it will address treatment of waste water, as well as prescribe steps to protect surface water and conserve water supply, said Judy Sventek, Metropolitan Council’s manager of the water resources assessment.“It’s all of us working together to get that end goal of sustainable water resources,” Sventek said. “It’s a very high goal, and it’s going to take a while.”The full 2040 plan will also focus on transportation, housing and public parks in the city.The plan will serve as a blueprint to find the best use of infrastructure and resources, and it highlights Twin Cities areas that need funding, Ward 1 Minneapolis City Councilman Kevin Reich said.Patricia Nauman, executive director of Metro Cities, a community group tasked with overseeing the Metropolitan Council, said at the public hearing Tuesday that she is concerned the new water resources plan doesn’t define what the council’s role would be in its implementation.“Making sure that there is clarity around those roles will be very important,” she said at the hearing.City officials recently discussed the plan and prepared comments, which were approved at a Transportation and Public Works Committee meeting last week.Reich said the plan misjudged Minneapolis’ growth in the next 10 years.City researchers think population and development will increase in the Twin Cities in the future, which is contrary to the plan that says growth will occur outside the cities in suburbs, he said.Reich said misallocating resources to the suburbs instead of the city could lead to monetary losses for local governments.Lisa Cerney, director of surface water and sewers for Minneapolis Public Works said the new plan is centered on viewing issues related to the region’s water resources as a whole.This water plan focuses on cooperation between local governments and nonprofit organizations, Sventek said.The full City Council will prepare its feedback to the plan next week and submit it to the Metropolitan Council.[See original article here: http://www.mndaily.com/news/metro-state/2015/03/10/metropolitan-council-water-plan-gets-feedback] Continue Reading