The Crosslake City Council will still seek to implement a 0.5% local option sales and use tax in the city, but dramatically scaled back plans approved last month.

The council agreed Monday, Jan. 6, to seek the tax over 15 years to help fund $6 million in estimated costs for three proposed wastewater infrastructure projects. The sales tax increase would generate an estimated $4.8 million over the 15 years, with an estimated $1.2 million in assessments making up the rest of the needed funding.

No increase in the general tax levy would be needed to help fund the projects.

Last month the council was poised to tackle a larger project, agreeing at its December meeting to seek a 25-year tax to help fund $21 million in estimated costs for five proposed wastewater infrastructure projects. An estimated $8.730 million from the general tax levy would have been needed to help fund the projects, along with assessments.

After meeting with state Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, and state Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, the council and sales tax committee revised the plan.

The city still must gain legislative and voter approval before the tax could be implemented in 2021. The council now will submit the resolution and documentation of regional significance to the chairs and ranking minority members of the state House and Senate taxes committees by Jan. 31 for approval and passage of a special law allowing the tax.

If the Legislature approves the measure authorizing the tax, the city would accept the new law and then put a detailed ballot question(s), which would include separate questions for each project, on a general election ballot for local voter approval within two years of receiving legislative authority.

If one or more ballot questions passed, the council would approve an ordinance imposing the tax.

If all proceeds as the council hopes, the local sales tax would run until the end of 2036.

The three projects the council outlined are:

  • On-site bio solids treatment, estimated $2 million: The city transports all bio solids remaining after the wastewater treatment process to the Pine River Area Sanitary Sewer District for final treatment and disposal. The city anticipates this won’t be available in the near future, so the city will have to treat and dispose of its own bio solids.

  • Northerly system sewer expansion (County State Aid Highway 66/Moonlite service area), estimated $1.6 million: The city intends to extend sewer service to this area because of high volume water users not currently on the city’s sewer system, and current and anticipated sewer issues at Moonlite Bay Restaurant and Moonlite Square car wash/gas station. Use in this area will continue to grow beyond the original septic design capabilities.

  • Easterly system sewer expansion (Daggett Lake service area), estimated $2.4 million: The city intends to extend sewer service to this area because of density, small lot size and proximity to lakeshore. The city considered this area in the past and residents have shown interest for sanitary sewer.

The two projects dropped from plans are a southerly system sewer expansion (East Shore service area) and a northeasterly system sewer expansion (Community center service area). And the city excluded a complete rebuild/rehabilitation of the wastewater plant estimated to cost $7.1 million.