Hermantown seeking sales tax increase for investment in recreation

WDIO
Updated: February 22, 2021 08:05 PM
Created: February 22, 2021 11:43 AM

Plenty of people have shopped in Hermantown. And the city hopes shoppers will help them invest in the residents' health.

The investment would be in the Community Recreation Initiative, which includes a new sheet of ice at the hockey arena, along with improvements to Fichtner Park and the trail system.

It would be paid for with a 1/2 of 1 percent increase in the sales tax. On a bill of $20, it would be an additional ten cents.

"Part of what makes sales tax so appealing is that it's not a property tax increase. So it doesn't feel like a traditional bill. You can spread the cost of these great infrastructure projects out, to everybody who shops in this city," explained Joe Wicklund, Communication and Community Engagement Manager. "And if people don't want to pay that tax, they don't have to shop here."

Bills that would allow the city to put this on the ballot have been introduced in the legislature. If approved by by lawmakers, the increase could go on voters as soon as November 2022.

Mayor Wayne Boucher added, "We're growing. We have a larger population than we did when we became a city. And there's more demand to get out in the community."

He said he believes there's support for this, and he's also heard some concern as well.

At the hockey rink on Monday afternoon, the Homeroom Hockey camp was wrapping up. There, Jimmy Bartsch shared why he loves being on the ice. "Skating, passing with my friends, winning, and even losing. Learning what I did wrong so I can get better at hockey."

He'd appreciate more sheets of ice in Hermantown. As would others in the hockey community, who often have early morning, late evening, and out of town practices.

The city has launched a survey to get people's input on the city's priorities.

The survey is available through 12pm on March 1st.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/hermantown1

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