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Lanesboro City Council Report: City sales tax progresses

Fri, Feb 23rd, 2007
Posted in Government

At the joint city council and public utilities meeting February 20, the council moved forward toward a 1/2 cent city sales tax. Passing a resolution approving a sales and use tax, the council detailed the items on which the money would be used. Whittier, Zenith East and West, Maple Drive, and Hillcrest are the streets that would be improved. Repairs and improvements would also be made to the City Hall/Community Center, the Ambulance Garage and the Street/Utility Shop. This tax would be in effect for approximately fifteen years. The money would be collected along with state tax and then be returned to the city by the Department of Revenue. With a local sales tax, visitors to the city would help pay for the amenities they used.

The next step toward the tax is the writing of legislation that must then be presented by either Tschumper or Ropes in the state legislature. City administrator Bobbie Torgerson and Mike Bubany from David Drown would be responsible for getting much of the information together for the legislation. Briggs and Morgan, P.A., bond attorneys, could be hired to help with the writing of the legislation. According to city attorney Tom Manion, there are resources available to the legislators to help with the writing; the city could have Briggs and Morgan review the legislation after it's written.

In order for the tax to be considered this spring session, legislation must be written in March. A special election could then be held next fall at the city's expense, or the matter could wait until fall 2008.

Council member Vince Jeannette commented that local people, thinking the tax was intended just to fix the park, weren't behind the tax. Jeannette urged publicizing the intended use of the money derived from the tax. Citizens will be able to express their opinions about the proposed tax at hearings later before the issue is put to a vote.

Torgerson reminded the council that if the sales tax didn't go through, the money to cover the needed repairs and improvements would need to come from increased property taxes. Carla Noack added that according to a recent survey, the citizens of Lanesboro were willing to have a local tax to pay for city infrastructure.

Comprehensive planning housing update

Carla Noack presented an update on the comprehensive planning on housing. She began by announcing the good news that developer Dan Anderson was just one investor away from beginning construction on the Church Hill Properties (the old school).

Noack shared the items considered at the housing meeting, including: housing for aging population, developing ways to attract young people to the city, assisted and unassisted senior living, and potential downtown housing.

Noack asked and received permission to post summary results of the meeting on the city's website. She urged the council to think about forming a housing committee; the council will check on the Lanesboro Housing Development Corporation, an existing organization, to see if it could assume the work of such a committee.

Other business

In other business the council:

• reappointed the Farmers' Market committee members, designated parking for the Farmers' Market Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings, and gave their blessing to the third annual Rhubarb Fest;

• asked Public Utilities to purchase energy efficient light bulbs for the city and heard several businesses in the city had received rebates for energy efficient steps

• okayed the Midwest Scenic Tri-State Ride's use of the space outside the designated tent area in the park June 26 and 27 for tenting provided no fires were allowed outside the campground;

• tabled the lot split decision on Randy Reynolds property until March 19 to give Everett Johnson time to get his land surveyed if he so desires;

• heard the Public Library's request for security camera, recorder, and new locks for the library doors to go with the drop box purchase planned by the library. Council member Vince Jeannette offered to contribute a security camera setup so the city needed to pay only for the new locks.

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