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Duluth City Council Considers Other Revenue Options, Approves Lakewalk Task Force

Updated: 08/25/2014 10:15 PM
Created: 08/25/2014 9:29 PM WDIO.com
By: Briggs LeSavage
blesavage@wdio.com

The Duluth City Council tabled a resolution again that would ask the Minnesota Legislature for approval of a for-profit casino housed at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center.

Councilor Howie Hanson said the decision came after a closed meeting last week when councilors heard more information about the current litigation between the city and the casino. He said that conversation made clear that the council needed more time to discuss this option and others.

Hanson wouldn't say what those other options might be, but he did say that they could include major economic developments to Duluth's waterfront. he hopes to see more ideas come forward soon to help relieve the burden on Duluth taxpayers.

"Unfortunately we've moved into a direction of fees and higher taxes and my argument always has been, that's not sustainable and we've got to find other sources." 

President of Grandma's Inc. Brian Daugherty joined the conversation Monday. He said while he isn't sure if a casino is the right idea, he said he recognizes the need to come up with an option to create revenue other than additional taxes.

"I guess I admire Councilor Hanson's ability to put the issue on the table and think big about how we need to solve it because it is a big issue. I don't know if the casino's the right thing, but I know we have to look at every option at this point to figure out what is the right thing," Daugherty said.

In other city council news, the council approved a resolution 6-3 to create a Lakewalk Task Force that will study the area between 19th and 25th avenues East to create a plan for lake access, safety and more. 

The task force will be comprised of six people. One member will reside in the Ledges development, another in the Beacon Point Development, one will represent the Friends of the Lakewalk group, and two will be citizens-at-large. A city councilor will act as a non-voting member and a liaison between the task force and the City Council.

Three councilors argued it's their job to make these decisions, not a task force's. Councilor Jennifer Julsrud said it's important to her to be involved with each step in order to fully understand the details. 

Other councilors explained this solution will help get the ball rolling on these issues that are important to the community. 

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