Legislative Priorities

St. Louis County is blessed with abundant natural resources, culture and history, and people! We work hard to serve our residents, and to preserve  all the rest. This is clear in our bonding requests and other legislative priorities:

The list of priorities approved by the County Board for the 2022 session:

Bonding requests


St. Louis County Regional Landfill - leachate collection system:  $4.5 million is requested to expand and relocate the leachate management ponds at the regional landfill. St. Louis County is investing in advanced filtration technologies, including an engineered wetland treatment system to reduce PFAS and other contaminants leaching into the groundwater.

St. Louis County Depot:  The Legislature awarded $1.5 million for Phase 1 of improvements to the 129-year-old Depot. Thank you! Now an additional $3.825 million is needed for mechanical, electrical and plumbing upgrades, as well as life/safety improvements. 

110,000+ people visited the Depot in 2021, despite it being closed to the public the first quarter due to the pandemic.

Additional bonding requests:

  • Northern JPB ATV Trail System
  • Public Works
    • Bridge Bonding ($200M)
    • Local Road Wetland Replacement Program
    • Local Road Improvement Program ($150M), etc.
  • Passenger Rail-NLX ($16B federal dollars available nationally from newly passed federal Infrastructure & Jobs Act; projects require a 20% state match)
  • St. Louis County Fair Animal Buildings

Human services reforms

  • Preserve Mental Health funding for our region: The need for mental health services has never been greater, yet our region stands to lose significant funding to support existing services. The Department of Human Services is developing a new Adult Mental Health Initiative (AMHI) funding formula and eliminating funds previously directed to the region. Without these funds, the county would face the challenge of reducing services or shifting the cost to taxpayers.

New waste management campus - Canyon

Development of a new waste management campus:  The County is seeking assistance to support the planning, funding, and development for the establishment of a state-of-the-art integrated waste management campus in New Independence Township, near Canyon.


Protect major State Aid Program funding to counties

  • Reform PILT funding formula : Payment in Lieu of Taxes is supposed to help counties that contain state-owned land that do not pay property taxes. However, counties with the most PILT lands, receive the least funding per acre. A recent study showed that if parity is restored, St. Louis County could receive up to $4.6 million to offset levy impacts and support key initiatives.


Lands Bill Legislation

Lands Bill Legislation: We have four requests in this category:  

  • Enact Special Sale of Tax Forfeited Lands due to trespass and other issues.
  • Current constraints are too troublesome for cell towers and other leases with significant investments and infrastructure. We are asking to be able to extend Tax Forfeited Lands lease terms from 10 years to 25 years, and increase the cap from $12K to $50K.
  • Provide eco-system services authority for counties. Extend to counties similar statutory authority as was granted to the School Trust to develop eco-system services (both Carbon Credits and Wetland Banking Authority on Tax Forfeited lands).
  • Allow for authority to purchase certain lands and bring them into the Tax Forfeited Trust, solving access and undivided interest issues. When purchased by the Trust, these lands become eligible for PILT payments.


Remaining initiatives

  • Chronic Wasting Disease legislation
    • Placing a moratorium on new captive deer farms
    • Restricting intra-state movement of deer without proper notice
  • Lands Bill legislation
  • Increase Community Corrections Act funding
  • Enhance funding for adult and adolescent mental health services and facilities
  • Expand County Investment Authority under Chapter 118A.07
  • Support the State fully funding out-of-home placement costs for children under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
  • Repeal/amend new Truth in Taxation requirements for supplemental budget information
  • Increase County Program Aid Funding


John Ongaro