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Washington County, Cottage Grove give legislative agendas

The Washington County Board and Cottage Grove City Council approved their legislative agendas this month for the 2018 session beginning Feb. 20.

Kevin Corbid, deputy Washington County administrator, said some of the initiatives they are asking for have been on their list for several years, but many are new additions.

The county is asking for funding or state bonding for various initiatives, including $7 million for an interchange at Manning Avenue and Highway 36 in Stillwater, $10 million for the Board of Water and Soil Resources for the purchase and development of wetlands to meet state wetland requirements, increased funding for aquatic invasive species prevention, public health grant funding, moneys for Minnesota Eligibility Technology System (METS) and reimbursement for increased costs from the new Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services (MNLARS) licensing system.

The county is also asking for funding for a two-year demonstration of a Red Rock Corridor route between St. Paul and Cottage Grove. Along with the route, they are supporting a Regional Transit Capital Area between the seven-county metro area involved in transit agreements.

Any further data retention requirements are being opposed by the county, including the possibility of having to retain emails for three years.

The board is supporting new assistive voting technology that would make it possible to mark a paper ballot by using a touch screen and having the machine mark it, as well as drop off points for absentee ballots to be fed into the machine without mailing.

The county and Cottage Grove are both asking for funding for county and regional parks, particularly the Ravine Regional Park currently undergoing improvements.

Both are also stating opposition to unfunded mandates from the state.

Cottage Grove

Much of the city's agenda is regarding water treatment.

They are requesting 4.5 million in state funding to hasten the plans for a water treatment facility.

They also ask that any funds taken from 3M in a settlement will come to Cottage Grove and other communities affected by perfluorochemical contamination.

Cottage Grove is also requesting funding and removal of barriers to wastewater and stormwater reuse and protection, as well as further water and groundwell monitoring.

As the city continues to grow, they are also requesting lighting along Highway 61.

The HERO Center is one of the city's top asks, currently in the bonding requests.