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Crosslake: City continues research into possible sales tax

Echo Journal file photo.

The Crosslake City Council continued discussion about a potential sales tax to offset large future project costs during its meeting Monday, April 8, at city hall.

Council member John Andrews was not present but listened via speakerphone.

Council member Aaron Herzog spoke about the special tax committee's recent trip to Walker to talk to city employees about their path to implementing a sales tax.

Walker has a 1.5% sales tax as of the 2018 general election when it was put to vote. The tax passed with 61% of the public vote.

From March 2018 to January 2019, the city of Walker earned $664,233.93 in sales tax, according to the city's sales tax receipts.

The council agreed that if the city was to consider a sales tax, the tax would be closer to 0.5% of each sale instead of the larger 1.5% that Walker implemented.

To further the research into whether a sales tax is viable for Crosslake, the council appointed Herzog, council member Dave Schrupp, city administrator Mike Lyonais, public works director Ted Strand, Darrell Swanson, Cindy Myogeto and Leah Heggerston to continue as the special tax committee.

The council approved $750 to pay for a local option sales tax analysis for the city of Crosslake through the University of Minnesota Extension. This analysis would look into the impact that seasonal residents, visitors and travelers would have on a possible sales tax and where the burden would most heavily lie.

Any decision made about a local sales tax would need to go to vote in the 2020 general election, so the city has time to consider options and investigate further before agreeing to anything.

Mayor Dave Nevin announced that he would host an open forum to ask questions and discuss the subject of sales tax at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, in the meeting room at the Crosslake Community Center.

In other business, the council:

• Donated $250 per request to the Emily Food Shelf for 2019 funding.

• Accepted four donations to the city. Crosslake Ideal Lions donated $6,500 for a Lucas CPR machine; the Crosslake Fire Relief Association donated $1,163.50 for a ladder, hooks and beanies for the fire department; Robert and Sandra Western donated $25 to the fire department as a Dorothy Seipp memorial; and the PAL Foundation donated $55 for the Bridge Room rental.

• Supported the pitch to build a children's museum in Pequot Lakes.

• Changed the city's record retention schedule to keep video of public meetings for seven years. The official schedule, adopted in 1994, said the retention period for video recording of public meetings is only three months after the minutes are approved. This rule had never been changed, but also had not been followed as of late. The city will now dispose of public meeting recordings older than seven years and keep all others.

• Agreed to add video recordings of special meetings to the website along with regular council meetings.

• Permitted the addition of an outdoor patio to the American Legion in Crosslake.

• Approved the change of regular Economic Development Authority meetings to 8 a.m. on the first Wednesday of every month.

• Signed a letter of support for a new legislative initiative to reform local government aid. If passed into law, the proposition would result in an increase of local government aid to Crosslake.

• Resolved to allow the county to improve State Aid Highway 36 within the city limits.

• Supported a legislative movement that would allow cities to create districts for street improvement funding.

• Approved a policy requiring a $500 permit fee for new small cell wireless facilities and a $500 fee to add additional antennas to existing towers.

• Approved the hiring of a sixth full-time officer to the police department from the current pool of part-time officers. The department will reduce the number of part-time officers to support the salary of the new full-time officer.

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