Bills for $25M funding for Carlton County justice center project introduced

Two bills, one in the House and one in the Senate, have been introduced to the Minnesota Legislature to bring in funding for the county's project.

FILE: Carlton County Transportation
The Carlton County Transportation Building.
Izabel Johnson / 2021 file / Pine Journal

CARLTON — Officials are once again seeking funding for Carlton County's justice center project, the largest in the county's history, from the state Legislature.

According to two bills, HF 3101 and SF 2988, Carlton County is seeking $25 million in order to construct, furnish and equip a new regional female-offender and judicial center.

The identical bills are another step to remove the burden of the new project from county residents, the first coming after voters passed a local option sales tax ballot measure in November.

The tax allows the county to collect up to $60 million to finance the construction of the project, which has a total cost of $65.8 million in construction and an estimated additional $9 million in soft costs.

The bills were introduced by Rep. Jeff Dotseth, R-Kettle River, and Sen. Jason Rarick, R-Pine City, on March 23 and March 20, respectively.


The ask this year is more than the $22.5 million that was asked for last session, however Mary Finnegan, the county's economic development director, said it was in part because the Revisor's Office rounded up to $25 million from "24 and some change."

The county had its request in last sessions omnibus bill, however the bill failed to pass.

Finnegan also clarified that while the county is asking for $25 million, they would like to get any kind of funding from the state for the project.

Both bills have been introduced and referred to their respective capital investment committees and do not have further hearing scheduled yet.

Finnegan said once the bills start to move through the legislature she will have a clearer understanding on their chances of passing.

"Hoping to know by mid-April if we are alive or dead," she said.

Dylan is a former reporter for the Cloquet Pine Journal.
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