Hermantown approves an increase in sales tax

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On Tuesday, October 8th, Hermantown residents had a question on their ballots that would support an increase in recreation initiatives, and voters approved more funding for the future of recreation activities.

It means a half percent sales tax to pay for an improved trail system, upgrades to Fichtner Park, and an additional sheet of ice. “Sales tax in Hermantown right now is a half percent lower than Duluth. This will even up the two cities, and obviously, there is a lot of cross traffic and shopping between Duluth and Hermantown. Now those two sales tax numbers will be the same, says Joe Wicklund, Communications Director for the City of Hermantown.

The matched increase now sits at 8.875 sales tax. The earliest the increase can take effect is April 1st, 2023. The city’s sales taxes previously was 8.38 percent. The funds from the increased sales will go to the following three projects.

“The completion of the city-wide trail system; we have a small portion, three miles already open now will extend the final seven miles to a ten-mile trail system. Fichtner Park, which is Hermantown Central Park, with upgrades. Baseball, softball, skate park, and basketball court, all things that are already there will get massive improvements. Then the last piece is a new indoor sheet of ice.”

Wicklund shared with WDIO how this new levy will impact the city. “Folks buying and doing business in each city, we knew the impact of an increase that would bring us equal to Duluth would be pretty negligible impact on the negative side, be more positives even with the projects versus negative with the tax increase.”

The projected funds of the three projects will amount to around 20 million dollars spreading out over several amounts or a time frame of fewer than 20 years, depending on which one comes first.

“These were definitively and decisively passed, almost two-thirds of Hermantown pulled the trigger on the trails and the improvements to Fichtner Park, and it was almost 56, 57% of voters leaning into the arena. So, this was not a particularly close vote. Folks really leaned into the idea of wanting these types of opportunity in Hermantown and thinking that this is a really positive way to fund them.”