Updates: DMC Joint Meeting, License Renewals, and a Solar Farm

Destination Medical Center Joint Meeting

On February 5 Olmsted County, Rochester City and the DMC Board met.  The discussion was to provide an update on DMC and to gather information on the events of the last five years.  In response to a question about what DMC should consider that [has not been included], I offered the suggestion that Rochester Community and Technical College should be expanded to a 2+2 University.  In order to provide the workforce needs of Olmsted County the technical college’s diploma and 2-year degrees need to be expanded and 4-year degrees will be needed to supply the workforce needs of Olmsted county.  RCTC, as a state supported institution, is in the best position at the lowest cost to do this.

In response to a question regarding what has happened over the last five years I offered that people who have lived in the community for many years and helped build the reputation of Mayo, feel that the emphasis on the DMC zone has ignored the needs of established neighborhoods.   More attention must be given to the needs of the entire city and county, not just the DMC zone.  The Chair of the DMC Board responded that this was not within the authority of the DMC board; however, not all of the DMC board members agreed with the chair.

The DMC board said that they wanted to be certain that decisions were made jointly; county representatives responded that joint decisions can only be made if all parties are included in the planning.

I will continue to raise my concerns about focusing on neighborhoods and making sure that all residents of the city and county are not left out of the DMC plans.

License Renewal Is Taking Too Long

The wait time caused the by the new requirements for the REAL ID and MNLARS computer system used to process the licenses is about an hour.  I believe that this service should not have this long of a wait time.  In response to the wait time,  the County plans to add additional staff to reduce the wait times.  The County has sent its concerns to the State regarding mandating counties to process the REAL IDs with an inadequate computer system.  Additional employees should soon be in place.    This will cost the County to provide the additional service but I believe it is important to insure that county residents get speedier service.  Additionally, the Legislators has bills to fix the MNLARS system but this fix will not happen for a long time and will do nothing to help the current situation.

To reduce your wait time, be sure that you bring with you the documents you will need for your REAL ID. For more information go to: https://dps.mn.gov/DIVISIONS/DVS/REAL-ID/Pages/default.aspx

Solar Farm?

The County is exploring a possible Solar Farm on land that that came to the County through tax forfeiture.  (This parcel was abandoned by the former owner after using it to dump chemicals and old tires.  Olmsted County is now responsible for the cleanup.)   Much of the parcel has chemical and other sources of pollution that is still is being assessed for cleanup costs.  A solar farm is one way to mitigate the cost and bring revenue to the county.