Revamped Senate plan allows Roch residents to serve on DMC board
Rochester residents would be allowed to serve on the authority board overseeing Mayo Clinic’s Destination Medical Center plan under a Senate plan unveiled on Monday.
That is in sharp contrast to the previous proposal, which would have prohibited any Rochester residents from serving on the authority. That group is charged with deciding how to spend millions of dollars on public infrastructure. The Senate plan also requires Mayo Clinic to spend $250 million on construction before state dollars could be tapped. That’s $50 million more than in the House version of the plan. The local share of the project is similar to that in the House plan, with the city responsible for $128 million and the county committed to up to $40 million for transportation costs.
Rochester City Council Interim President Randy Staver thanked members of the Senate Taxes Committee during a hearing on the bill for their hard work on the proposal. He said the city officials still need to review the latest proposal, noting that the local contribution is "considerably higher than the city had been anticipating." Rochester had originally pledged $60 million for the project. Still, he said the city is pleased to see the Destination Medical Center proposal continue to advance.
"This is an opportunity that will ensure that Mayo’s flagship will remain in Minnesota and in Rochester for years to come," he said.
The plan would require Mayo Clinic to spend $250 million before state dollars would start flowing for public infrastructure projects to support the clinic’s 20-year expansion plans. That is $50 million more than required under the House version of the plan. The Senate bill also requires a similar local match for the Mayo Clinic Destination Medical Center proposal. It requires $128 million match for general infrastructure upgrades along with an estimated $40 million from Olmsted County for transportation projects. The state’s contribution would be capped at $455 million.
Mayo wants the state’s help in paying for roads, bridges, transportation and other infrastructure upgrades needed to help transform Rochester into a global destination for health care. The clinic has pledged to spend $3.5 billion to expand its Rochester campus and leverage $2 billion in private investment.
The latest Senate and House plans give the city of Rochester and Olmsted County choices as to how they want to pay for the local match. The city could choose to impose an entertainment tax, extend its existing half-cent sales tax, increase the sales tax by a quarter cent or increase its lodging tax. The county would have the option of raising a quarter-cent transportation tax.