Torkelson, Dahms hopeful for NU sewer, water main funding

ST. PAUL — Rep. Paul Torkelson and Sen. Gary Dahms said they’re hopeful Minnesota’s 2024 Capital Investment Bonding bill will include $2 million to complete New Ulm’s gravity sewer and water main project and demolish a lift station.

The 2024 Minnesota legislative session began Feb. 12. It is scheduled to end May 20.

The City of New Ulm requested $2 million to cover half of the remaining cost of the sewer and water main project on Front Street and demolish a Center Street lift station. The rest of the project cost would be funded by the city.

“There is money. There will be a bonding bill. We certainly hope it will get funded. It’s important to fund the most important projects,” Torkelson said.

Dahms said he’s hopeful for a “reasonable” bonding bill in the $800 to $860 million range with a lot of infrastructure items.

“Several communities are dealing with sewer and water issues. It would be great if we can get money to get them all done,” added Dahms.

Torkelson and Dahms said they have received many phone calls and email about not turning Minnesota into a “sanctuary state” with the North STAR Act that essentially prevents local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

“It’s quite a bone of contention,” said Dahms.

“I strongly oppose any attempts to make Minnesota a sanctuary state from federal immigration laws,” read a Feb. 15 news release from Dahms.

“The North STAR Act would prohibit state and local officials from cooperating with federal immigration authorities who are seeking to deport those in Minnesota illegally. Border security is a critical issue facing our nation. We don’t need to bring these problems here to Minnesota,” read the release.

Torkelson said he hasn’t heard from anybody in favor of the North STAR Act.

“We already have a border crisis. The border situation needs to be taken care of first. Mass immigration is out of control,” he added.

Dahms said the changing the Minnesota flag is a hot item.

“People just don’t feel it was fair the way it was done. People think they should vote on it. They’re correct,” he added.

Torkelson said many people responded negatively to him after a DFL press conference about allowing assisted suicide.

“I don’t think I heard from more than one person in favor of it. It don’t think it’ll move this year, but I don’t think its going away. At least maybe we can stop it,” Torkelson added.

Torkelson said legislators have been working hard on the school resource officer issue but “just can’t seem to get the language we need for it. Hopefully, we’ll get it done soon. It’s important for some schools. More than 90% of students want them. The kids feel safer with them,” he added.


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