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Newport's state aid to increase by $75K per year

The City of Newport will see a welcome spike in much-needed Local Government Aid next year, increasing state assistance by $450,000 over six years thanks to a tax bill recently passed by legislators and signed into law by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Newport will receive $684,156 in LGA this year, a figure that already includes a temporary boost from the state during Wakota Bridge construction. Under the Omnibus Tax Bill passed by the legislature, the city will get an extra $75,000 per year from 2009 to 2014.

The state aid makes up around 20 percent of Newport's annual city budget. The jump in assistance was needed, officials have said, to help compensate for lost redevelopment opportunities during the protracted Wakota Bridge process, now expected to be complete three years behind schedule in the fall of 2010.

Local legislators, Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL - Cottage Grove, and Rep. Karla Bigham, DFL - Cottage Grove, supported the bill, which was similar to legislation vetoed by Pawlenty late in last year's session.

"Newport residents have suffered through numerous Wakota construction delays and it has affected the economy of the community," Bigham said Tuesday in a joint release with Sieben. "I'm pleased that the governor finally signed the bill to bring needed property tax relief to Newport."

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