Plan Would Shift Additional DMC Cost to Rochester

Posted at: 04/16/2013 6:53 PM
By: Brittany Lewis

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Changes to the House version of the Destination Medical Center bill could cost Olmsted County residents millions more. That tab could be paid back in a variety of ways, including increased taxes.

"Has the local share gone up? Yes. Will the local area be also receiving much of the advantage of the Destination Medical Center as well as the state, clearly so,” said John Wade, President of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce.

While the proposed local share has more than doubled, up from $60 million to $128 million.

"Certainly the numbers are a bit higher than we expected,” said Randy Staver, Interim City Council President.

The proposed state funding has gone down by nearly $200 million. In the House version of the bill, the state would provide no more than $30 million per year which would cap out at $338 million. 

"It's still funding and one of the things that we are most encouraged by is that the funding that will take to support the infrastructure that will take 6 billion in private investments has been included in the house version,” said Wade.

Staver is also quick to point to the positives.
"The thing that's very encouraging is the house language has provided us with a number of options that we can look at in terms of revenue sources to meet that obligation,” said Staver.

Those options include a local lodging, food and beverage, or an entertainment tax. The city could also decide to extend or increase the local sales tax.
"I don't know that any one option is preferable over another and we'll certainly study those and see what makes the best sense for the citizens of Rochester,” said Staver.

"We're looking very closely at these numbers. How it will impact the community businesses, very concerned about that as well as everyone so we'll be doing that. But on the surface this looks like a very good plan, we expect there will be a similar plan in the senate,” said Wade.

Hoping to keep the bill moving forward.

"It's something that at least we can look at and work with and hopefully we can make it work,” said Staver.

Is the increased fair to you, the taxpayers? We asked the question on our Facebook page, most saying it’s not fair. You can join the conversation at facebook.com/kaaltv.