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Baxter, Brainerd voters extend local option sales tax

Both Brainerd and Baxter voters approved extending a one-half of 1 percent Local Option Sales Tax (LOST). In Baxter, the question of extending the sales tax passed with 1,924 yes votes or 55.54 percent to 1,540 no votes or 44.46 percent. In Brain...

Election results start to roll in Tuesday night at the Crow Wing County Courthouse in Brainerd. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)
Election results start to roll in Tuesday night at the Crow Wing County Courthouse in Brainerd. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)

Both Brainerd and Baxter voters approved extending a one-half of 1 percent Local Option Sales Tax (LOST).

In Baxter, the question of extending the sales tax passed with 1,924 yes votes or 55.54 percent to 1,540 no votes or 44.46 percent.

In Brainerd, 2,180 voted in favor, and 1,742 voted against it. That's 56 percent in favor.

One precinct still hadn't reported results as of press time.

Both cities currently have the LOST.

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Brainerd's began April 1, 2007, while Baxter's went into effect on Oct. 1, 2006. The LOST is set to expire March 31, 2019, for Brainerd and Sept. 30, 2018, for Baxter. Or as early as 2016 in Baxter's case, as it is expected to collect its limit long before time runs out.

When the LOST was first implemented, the goal was to fund and upgrade the shared wastewater treatment plant, expected to cost $30 million and other water infrastructure.

Baxter officials calculate the half-cent sales tax costs the average household about $84 a year. If the tax was not approved, they said, property taxes on a median value residence could increase $352 if the city chose to proceed with the same projects. If the measure failed in Brainerd, the city could have been forced to increase wastewater debt service fees by more than 200 percent.

The money gained through LOST will be used by Brainerd and Baxter to continue funding the upgraded waste treatment facility that serves both cities as well as water infrastructure and trail improvements with any funds not used for the joint facility.

In Baxter, where more sales tax revenue is generated, about $8 million of LOST money will be used to extend sewer and water service to Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport for operations and fire protection. In Baxter, city officials put out newsletters and hosted public information sessions to get the word out about the one half-percent sales tax.

JESSIE PERRINE may be reached at jessie.perrine@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/brainerdnews .

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Dispatchbizbuzz .

Related Topics: ELECTION 2014
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