Tax tossed by votersRed Wing residents shot down a proposed half-cent local sales tax on Tuesday’s ballot.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing residents shot down a proposed half-cent local sales tax on Tuesday’s ballot.
The local option sales tax before voters failed with only 3,331 votes (39.49 percent) in favor of the measure and 5,104 (60.51) against.
The half-cent tax would have funneled up to $14.88 million into projects for the riverfront, downtown, the Sheldon Theatre and a joint Red Wing Area Seniors and Red Wing Collectors Society facility. It also would have expired after a maximum of 20 years.
Some business owners had expressed concern that the tax could impact local shopping at small businesses that already are facing tough competition from online shops and other outlets.
Council members voted 6-1 in August to put the question on the ballot. Some said they were moving the tax forward so citizens would have a say, while others vocally supported the proposal.
Mayor Dennis Egan said he thinks the city could look at a smaller tax package — which he advocated for during discussions this year — with more of a focus on the downtown. Other funding options will be in the mix as well, he said.
The City Council, mayor and staff are in the midst of budget discussions, Egan said, and now will have to find creative ways to fund necessities.
“We’ll be looking at what that mix is and looking at how do we ensure some of the vital things are funded,” Egan said, noting bonding could be one option, especially for infrastructure needs.
The senior center/pottery museum project was one on the ballot that was time-sensitive, and Egan said he’s not sure how that will proceed now that the tax was rejected.
“I hope that continues to move forward,” he said, but added he isn’t sure what the city’s role will be right now.
The local option sales tax was a second attempt at finding other revenues outside property taxes. Last year the City Council considered franchise fees on utilities but they were ultimately rejected.
The Legislature would have had to approve the tax to move it forward.