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News briefs: Expect overnight traffic delays Thursday; Local sales tax will help to fund transportation

Expect overnight traffic delays Thursday

Motorists are expected to experience brief traffic delays on Highway 61 near the Highway 63/Eisenhower Bridge in Red Wing 10 p.m. Thursday, July 26, to 6 a.m. Friday, as crews move equipment from an adjacent bridge,

Delays should not exceed 10 minutes during the overnight hours. Flaggers will stop traffic in both directions of Highway 61 while the equipment is being moved from the east side of the highway to the west side of the highway.

For real-time traffic information in Minnesota, call 511 or visit www.511mn.org.

District launches referendum information website

In an effort to better inform voters of the upcoming referendum, the Red Wing School District launched an informational website called Wingers Soar.

The district is asking voters to consider two questions that would increase the operating levy. The first questions asks voters to increase the general education revenue by $1,200 per pupil. The second question asks voters to increase the general education revenue by an additional $450 per pupil, taking the total to $1,650.

The current district per pupil cost is $811.64 and will expire at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. If voter approved, the new operating levy would begin with taxes payable in 2019 and last five years.

The website has areas identifying the needs of the school district and what they would do with the increase in funding, the ballot questions, the tax impact with a tax calculator, along with information on voting like finding your polling place and registering to vote.

The vote will be held on Nov. 6.

For more information, visit the Winger Soar website: https://wingerssoar.org/home.

Local sales tax will help to fund transportation

On July 24, Goodhue County commissioners voted to raise the sales tax by 0.5 percent to help fund transportation projects over the next 10 years. The vote was 3-2, with Jason Majerus and Barney Nesseth voting against the plan.

The board heard a presentation by Goodhue County Public Works Director Greg Isakson where he outlined the pressing need for better quality roads in the county. Isakson said roadways, bridges and infrastructure is in dire need, saying the safety and condition of the list of projects should be a top priority for the county to consider.

Isakson outlined multiple options for the board to consider to help with funding:

• Increasing the annual wheelage tax from $10 to $20 per vehicle;

• Increasing the county's property tax levy;

• Issuing bonds;

• Adopting the local option sales tax.

Commissioner Paul Drotos said it is the board's "constitutional responsibility" to pay for the further upkeep and care for the roads.

Nesseth said the tax will be harder on the lower income economy and will take more money out of the local economy.

The Goodhue County auditor-treasurer will have to certify the tax to the Minnesota Department of Revenue for collection of the tax on or before Sep. 30.

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