Rochester City Council Preparing For Sales Tax Extension Vote
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester City Council will hold a study session Monday afternoon to discuss a potential referendum this fall on extending the city's half-cent sales tax.
The city is currently seeking the state legislature's permission to hold a vote on a proposal to continue collecting the local sales tax to raise $205 million for funding four major community initiatives. The largest would be the creation of a Regional Community and Recreation Complex with a price tag of approximately $65 million. The plan calls for using another $50 million for street reconstruction, $50 million for a Housing Vitality Project, and $40 million for flood control and water quality initiatives. It's anticipated that the half-cent sales tax on purchases made in Rochester will generate $12 to $13 million dollars per year.
According to a presentation that will be made to the City Council on Monday, if state lawmakers approve the plan, it would likely be included on the ballot for the November general election. Under a recently revised state law, voters will have the option of approving or rejecting each of the four individual proposals rather than voting on the entire package.
The focus of Monday's discussion will be on community engagement through media releases, social media, the City of Rochester's website, digital surveys, community events, focus groups, in-person meetings, and communications through community partners. City Staff is also recommending webinars, pop-up events, and a co-design process to "inform, consult, involve, collaborate, and empower local citizens.
The presentation to the City Council indicates that the co-design process will be utilized for the creation of the concept plans for the proposed regional community and recreation complex. Staff is recommending beginning that process in May in hopes of having a concept design ready for review in August.