A closer look at the DMC legislation
Tucked within last year's 382-page tax bill are 22 pages expected to have a profound impact on Rochester's future.
Those pages establish Destination Medical Center, a $585 million funding package aimed at helping the city and Olmsted County accommodate the massive growth expected to come with Mayo Clinic's 20-year, $6 billion expansion plans. The provisions are spelled out in Article 10 of the bill. One of the most important parts of the bill centers on what those public tax dollars can be spent on.
How is public infrastructure defined?
The legislation specifies what the $585 million in taxpayer dollars can be used for based on how it defines "public infrastructure project." That means a project "financed in part of in whole with public money in order to support the medical business entity's development plans." Possible uses for the dollars include:
• Acquiring property; demolishing, repairing or rehabilitating buildings;
• Remediating land and buildings;
• Installing, constructing or reconstructing elements of public infrastructure to support the development of DMC. That can include streets, roadways, utilities systems, streetscape improvements, sewer and water systems, landscaping and facade construction.
• Acquiring, constructing or reconstructing parking facilities to encourage intermodal transportation and public transit
• Installing, constructing or reconstructing and furnishing and equipping "Parks, cultural, and recreational facilities, facilities to promote tourism and hospitality, conferencing and conventions, broadcast and related multimedia infrastructure."
• Site improvements including excavation, earth retention and soil stabilization and correction
• Prepare land for private development and to sell or lease land
• Relocation benefits to occupants of acquired properties
• Constructs and equip all a portion of one or more suitable structures on land owned by the city for sale or lease to private development with the exemption of Mayo Clinic.
What about open meetings and conflicts of interest?
The Destination Medical Center Corporation is subject to the state's open meeting laws. Also, the legislation prohibits appointing Mayo Clinic employees to the board, with the exception of Mayo's one appointee. Also, a member may not vote on a project in which he or she has "either a director of indirect financial interest." Lastly, no board member is allowed to serve as a lobbyist.
DMC development plan
The city, the DMCC board and the nonprofit economic development agency must prepare and adopt the DMC development plan. At least 60 days before a hearing on the plan, the corporation must make copies available to the public.
Rochester's role in project
The legislation grants the city the power of a port authority. It requires the city to provide "financial and administrative support, and office and other space, to the corporation." The city is in charge of issuing the bonds for the public infrastructure projects that meet the guidelines. It also requires the city to use American-made steel products "to the extent practicable." The city is also encouraged to hire women and minority-owned businesses for the projects.
Who serves on the Destination Medical Center Corporation Board?
The board, which oversees the nonprofit corporation established by the city of Rochester, has eight appointees. Allowed members are as follows:
• Mayor of the city, or mayor's designee, subject to city council approval
• City council president, or the city council president's designee, subject to city council approval
• Olmsted County Board chairman or member, appointed by the board
• Mayo Clinic representative
• Four members appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate.
Local elected officials serve on the board for a term that ends whether their elective term ends. Two of the governor's appointees serve until January 2017 and two other serve until January 2020. The board must approve any DMC projects before they are proposed to the city.