The Metropolitan Council reaches its 50th anniversary this week, but don’t expect much public celebrating for an agency under siege.
Decades after state leaders created the unique regional entity to grapple with issues spanning the metro area’s 188 cities and towns — from long-term planning to sewer service — Republican legislators who bristle at its power have made reining it in a priority. Some would like to disband it altogether.
Supporters point to results from the Twin Cities’ experiment in regional governance, from cheap wastewater treatment to a reliable transit system and expansive regional parks. But even those seemingly straightforward missions can be fraught with tensions between local desires and regional needs that have made the council a controversial body over its history.
What kind of transit should we have, and who will pay for it? Where should sewer pipes foster the region’s outward growth? Should a council of 17 gubernatorial appointees require cities to accommodate affordable housing?
It’s attracted a wide array of opinions, sometimes from polar opposite perspectives.