Local police, fire departments to receive $300 million in new state funding

Local police, fire departments to receive $300 million in new state funding

Local police, fire departments to receive $300 million in new state funding

Thanks to Minnesota’s record budget surplus in the past year, local police and fire departments will receive a cash infusion of $300 million spread across the state.

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“It’s always good for me to be able to say this time, the checks are in the mail next week,” Governor Tim Walz told a group of public safety officials gathered at the Lino Lakes Fire Department on Thursday.

The $300 million signed into law back in May — which will help communities meet the needs for their police, fire and emergency management teams — is expected to be sent out to municipalities sometime next week.

Each city will receive money with the amount determined by population. For instance, Bloomington will receive $3.9 million dollars and Lino Lakes will get $930,000. Each city is able to spend on public safety as they see fit.

In Lino Lakes, they’ll get new police body and squad cams, new fire suppression equipment and pay down some debt on two fire trucks the city recently bought for $2.2 million.

“This public safety aid is going to pay a dividend for the next 10 years for the City of Lino Lakes,” said Lino Lakes Public Safety Director John Swenson.

In Bloomington, a big chunk of money will go toward hiring 13 to 14 new officers to get a head start on the 13 or 14 officers expected to retire in the next two years.

“Now for us to be able to hire these folks we never get behind the eight ball with hiring,” Bloomington Police Chief Booker Hodges said. “This is huge for us to be able to do that.”

On a smaller scale, the Centennial Lakes Police Department representing Circle Pines, Centerville and Lexington will hire one officer to grow the force from 16 to 17. It doesn’t sound like much, but that’s more than a 6% increase in the force.

“The demand on officers is increasing every day and this is what the community wants and something we’re very happy to deliver for them,” said Centennial Lakes Police Chief James Mork.

The money will begin arriving the day after Christmas. It’s less than the $550 million Walz originally proposed, but all the departments say it will make a big difference.

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