MN Lawmakers Give Rochester Green Light To Ask Voters For Sales Tax Renewal
The session ended about two hours early on Monday. Lawmakers approved a new two-year state budget that included the passage of a new tax bill and an infrastructure bill that will send state dollars into Rochester.
A news release issued by city officials Tuesday says Rochester received approval to ask voters to renew the city’s 0.5% sales tax in November. City leaders say the proceeds from the sales tax fund the Economic Vitality Fund, Street Reconstruction, Flood Control & Water Quality, and a Regional Sports and Recreation Complex.
“We want to thank our local lawmakers and extend our appreciation for their work and dedication to Rochester and our region. We are very grateful to our bipartisan legislative delegation for their support on many of the priorities important to the city and community this session,” City Administrator Alison Zelms said in a statement.
City leaders say Rochester has used the 0.5% sales tax to fund projects since the 1980’s. The tax was most recently renewed in 2012.
Along with approval to ask voters to renew the local sales tax, the news release says Rochester also is set to receive money from the infrastructure bill to provide funding for the following projects:
$14 million for Regional Parks and Forestry Maintenance Facility to expand the existing Public Works and Transit Operations Center and allow the existing parks maintenance facility and function to move entirely from its current location downtown by Mayo Field.
$3.6 million for Willow Creek Regional Trail & Safety Connection that will connect the Gamehaven Regional Park into the rest of the city’s trail system with a trail and Highway 52/63 underpass.
$800,000 for Design of Regional Park & Ride Parking Facility along North Broadway adjacent to the Recreation Center/125 Live. The parking facility will provide park and ride function along the transit corridor of North Broadway into downtown. The facility will also provide parking for events at the Recreation Center and users of 125LIVE, Rochester’s Center for Active Adults.
Extension of 2020 Bonding Funds for Rochester Airport Runway Improvements allowing the use of previously-awarded state funds for duration of the 7-year project and alignment with over $60 million in federal dollars for the project that is currently underway.
The news release says lawmakers also approved bills that addresses the city council’s legislative priorities such as, “local government aid, statewide aid for housing, public safety aid, funding for electric vehicle microtransit, funding for services and shelters for people experiencing homelessness, reinstatement and extension of the state Historic Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit, green building energy code rules change at state level, and state funding for treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for public safety.”