Operation and maintenance costs for public areas improved by Destination Medical Center efforts are expected to increase city expenses.
“These are all great projects, and I understand they are laudable, but at the end of the day, we, as a city, are going to be left to maintain and operate them,” Rochester City Council member Mark Bransford said during a recent discussion of the DMC budget for 2022 projects. “We are talking about a lot of money. I think we need to step back a bit.”
He said residents are concerned about ongoing expenses that are seen as benefiting a specific part of the city.
Deputy City Administrator Aaron Parrish said DMC projects are intended to increase economic vibrancy in the city, which will provide a range of benefits for the city and provide increased revenue opportunities to cover costs.
During its 3:30 p.m. weekly meeting Monday, the council will discuss potential short-term and long-term strategies for covering ongoing expenses related to DMC projects.
Agenda materials show projected new costs for Heart of the City operations, which includes the updated Peace Plaza, could increase by $115,000 next year. The estimate climbs to $243,000 in 2023.
With Discovery Walk construction along four blocks of Second Avenue Southwest set to start next year, additional city costs are expected to follow to activate the area.
In 2024, the city is expected to see $120,000 in estimated costs to start activating the planned parkway.
A 2025 estimate puts the Heart of the City costs at $268,000 and the Discovery Walk costs at $280,000.
The additional costs include standard maintenance expenses, funding for staff and materials related to operations and energy and utility expenses.
Several funding sources could be available for consideration, including tax abatements, existing property tax funds, sales tax funds, income from the downtown special service district and unallocated tax increment financing funds.
On Monday, the council will review the options and a proposed phased approach to paying the added expenses. The meeting will be in council chambers of the city-county Government Center, but it will also livestream at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas and be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80.
Meetings scheduled to be held during the week of Oct. 11 include:
• City Council study session, 3:30 p.m. Monday. The meeting will livestream at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas and be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80.
• Police Policy Oversight Commission, 4 p.m. Monday. Access information is available at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas
• Energy Commission, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. Video will be posted online following the meeting.
• Planning and Zoning Commission, 6 p.m. Wednesday. Access information is available at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas
• Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Access information is available at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas
• Human Services Advisory Board, 7 a.m. Wednesday in conference room 161 at 2117 Campus Drive SE.
• Human Rights Commission, 6 p.m. Thursday in conference room 2 of the city-county Government Center.
• Planning Advisory Commission, 7 p.m. Thursday in the board chambers of the government center.