Red Wing explores local sales taxRed Wing is moving forward in exploring a local sales tax that would fund capital projects.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing is moving forward in exploring a local sales tax that would fund capital projects.
The City Council voted Monday night to appoint some members to a citizen advisory committee that will mull over potential projects that would receive the funds and other details.
Later on, an advocacy and education group likely will be established to gear up before local voters would cast their ballots on the proposed tax.
“I do think it’s a good process that we’ve set up,” Council member Lisa Bayley said. “I like that we're going slowly and getting lots of outside input.”
The idea of the sales tax is being explored as another option to raise revenues outside of property taxes, Council Administrator Kay Kuhlmann said.
A number of other Minnesota cities have the tax, including Rochester, Mankato and Owatonna.
The advisory committee will start meeting next month with the goal of bringing project recommendations to the council in August.
Eight members of the citizen committee were approved at Monday’s council meeting, but the city’s aim is to have 12 to 15 members overall.
The council still is considering whether the issue will be put before voters in November. But the committee will help explore projects people would like to fund and make recommendations.
The referendum question has to be pretty specific as to what the funds will be used for, Kuhlmann said.
The money from the local sales tax has to be used for capital projects, usually those of regional significance. The tax can be in place for up to 20 years.
If a local referendum passes, the Legislature still will have to approve the tax.
There have been some informal discussions about the topic with groups of residents and some civic clubs.
“It’s very interesting the feedback we received,” Kuhlmann said. There weren’t a lot of strong feelings either way, she pointed out. “A lot of people were curious in knowing more.”
Two community members spoke out against the proposed tax during public comment at the beginning of Monday’s City Council meeting. Both said the city should look at options such as cutting costs and getting rid of the city-owned golf course and marina before adding new taxes.
A community forum on the issue is planned for June 12 at the Sheldon Theatre.