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Grand Forks leaders gear up for 2015 Legislature

Grand Forks city leaders say they want to be more proactive when it comes to working with state legislators in the 2015 session.

They took the first step Thursday when members of the city's Legislative Committee met with local representatives and senators to discuss upcoming financial needs for projects planned within Grand Forks and the region.

"We want to be sure they have all the information they need from the city going into the next session," said Council member Bret Weber, who also is co-chairman of the committee.

The meeting was attended by legislators from Districts 17, 18, 19, 20, 42 and 43.

Committee members discussed several large projects planned for the area, including a new $139 million water treatment plant.

About $52 million improvements were made to the city's water system from 2001 to 2009 in preparation for the regional facility. As of now, the city and state are each expecting to pay 50 percent of the plant construction costs.

Other projects discussed that require significant investments include infrastructure for the proposed $1.7 billion Northern Plains Nitrogen fertilizer plant and the Red River Valley Water Supply Project.

The supply project would send water from the Missouri River to the Red River Valley. The city's share of the $690 million project is estimates at $41 million but could exceed that amount.

At an infrastructure planning session earlier this year, council members urged committee representatives and legislators to press the state for as much funding as possible for the projects.

Committee members and legislators also discussed parts of the city that have been identified as growth areas. These areas would need an estimated $23 million in infrastructure investments in the next few years to accommodate predicted development.

"Investing in long-term, critical infrastructure in Grand Forks and across the state is a clear priority," Weber said. "Success is going to take partnerships at all levels, and I think we demonstrated we are and will continue to be a good partner."

The group also discussed the city's 2014 budget and the state's recent property tax relief efforts, which included buying down school taxes and a 12 percent tax credit on property tax bills.

Call Jewett at (701) 780-1108, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1108 or send email to