Replacement Plan & Funding
At its August 11 meeting, the City Council approved the necessary ordinances to begin collecting a franchise fee on gas and electric bills to help fund future parks and trail facility replacements. Pending approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, the new fee ($5 per month total increase for residential properties) will appear on monthly bills starting in January 2022. See the frequently asked questions to learn more.
Woodbury's extensive parks and trails system is the envy of most other Twin Cities communities. The exceptional recreational amenities residents enjoy today were made possible through solid, forward-thinking decisions made by past city residents and leaders and built through a carefully managed development process that limited the cost to residents.
The parks and trails system includes park buildings and structures, courts, fields, playgrounds, irrigation systems, parking lots, trails, and other miscellaneous items. As the system ages and needs repairs, the city needs a long-term funding tool to ensure proper replacement of the amenities for years to come. Now is the time to commit to carrying forward the community's parks and trails legacy for future generations.
Developing a Plan
In December 2019, the Woodbury City Council directed staff to develop a parks and trails replacement plan with the intent to ensure the city's parks and trails meet the needs of a growing and changing community. As city staff completed a comprehensive asset management plan for parks facilities, it became clear a sustainable funding plan for replacing the assets was essential for moving forward. Subsequently, the City Council approved the creation of a Park and Trails Replacement Fund as part of the 2020 budget to begin to address the initiative and seeded the fund with approximately $700,000.
However, a key missing component to connect the City Council's strategic goal, staff's asset management planning, and the new replacement fund was a sustainable revenue plan. In 2020, the City Council directed the Parks and Natural Resources Commission and the Audit Investment Commission to provide a joint funding recommendation to sustain a currently underfunded Parks and Trails Replacement Fund.
At the commissions' recommendation, the City of Woodbury is instituting a franchise fee on utilities (gas and electric) to help fund future parks and trail facility replacements. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers regarding franchise fees.