Archived Story

RTC options limited

Published 11:02am Monday, May 20, 2013

The city of Fergus Falls will know by midnight tonight if a two-year extension for the Regional Treatment Center demolition funding deadline will be a reality.

To this point, all signs have been positive that the RTC extension would be included in a state bonding bill.

However, on Friday, the House defeated an $800 million construction projects bill. Republicans argued it was too large.

A pared-back bill could be limited to the $109 million for the capitol makeover, some disaster recovery assistance, matching money for a new Minneapolis Veterans home building and other projects deemed critical.

Rep. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls) is prepared with two options to try and get the RTC extension through. He has an amendment for the RTC project that he hopes will be added to the bill, or he could try and put an amendment in the reviser’s bill that comes through today. But he’d much rather have it as part of the bonding bill, he said.

“We’ll just have to cross our fingers that one of the two works,” Nornes said. “I guess, to be honest, there’s no guarantee that the House will even bring that bonding bill up.”

The deadline to request reimbursement for up to $5 million in demolition funds is December 2014. If the extension is included in the final bonding bill, it would extend the deadline to December 2016. Grant funds would not be increased in the proposed legislative action.

What happens if the RTC extension gets snubbed from today’s bills?

“Then we would be out of options,” Nornes said. “The only other option we’d have is there’d be a bonding bill next year. That’s a backup plan. So it puts the city in an awkward situation because it gets pretty close to the original deadline of 2014.”

The extension is important for potential developers who are interested in the RTC site, Nornes said. A Georgia company, Historic Properties Inc., presented a proposal to the Fergus Falls City Council May 6, and another proposal could be presented at tonight’s council meeting.

There are still a lot of things that need to get done by midnight, Nornes said. He’ll hope for the best that the RTC extension is included.

“I’m hoping today will be successful,” Nornes.

 

By Heather Rule and AP

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