WAITE PARK -- Waite Park residents are being asked to go to the polls this November and vote on new half-cent sales tax referendum.

The two question ballot would authorize the city to collect a new half-cent sales tax which would be used to fund regional trail connections ($7.5-million) and a new public safety facility ($20-million).

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City Administrator Shaunna Johnson says because these are regional projects, the proposed sales tax would not just fall on the shoulders of the residents and business owners.

80% of the sales tax we collect here in Waite Park comes from outside the community. If you think of it in the scope of a $20-million project, about $16-million of it would be funded from people who don't live in Waite Park. That's significant.

Other project a half-cent sales tax has help funded include several road projects like the recent Waite Avenue project and the pickleball courts and splash pad at River's Edge Park.

Johnson says if approved the tax would collect around $27.5-million over 19 years for those projects. She says unlike some other regional sales taxes, this tax would not be eligible for an extension.

If we are able to raise that money, if approved, and pay for the projects, that sales tax goes away. Or if we haven't been able to generate all that money, once we hit 19 years, that tax collection is done.

She says they anticipate collecting about $1.5-million annually from the proposed tax to fund the projects.

Johnson says both questions are not tied to each other, meaning one project could still move forward if the other fails.

If you have more question on the sales tax referendum, the is holding an informational meeting on Friday at 10:00 a.m. at Community Pavilion Park.


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