Plans for citywide sales tax on hold in East Grand Forks
The 20-year 1.25% sales tax would help fund improvements to the city’s recreational facilities
EAST GRAND FORKS – Department heads in East Grand Forks will meet this week to decide what to do next after a 20-year, 1.25% sales tax, which would help fund improvements to the city’s recreational facilities, didn’t receive a decision from the Minnesota Legislature before the session came to an end.
City Administrator David Murphy said the department heads will talk about what needs to be done in the meantime to keep the facilities operating and functional.
“What are our most critical needs and how are we going to target and meet those in the short term here?” Murphy said.
The only way a decision on the sales tax could be made still is if the Legislature goes into a special session, but Murphy said the likelihood of that happening is slim.
“So if they don’t call a special session and they don’t take any action on it, (it) probably won’t be brought up again until the next cycle which would be two years from the session,” Murphy said.
The citywide sales tax, which was set to generate $21.5 million , would have gone toward improvements on the Civic Center, the baseball field at Itts Williams Park adjacent to the Civic Center and the VFW Memorial Arena.
Parks and Recreation Superintendent Reid Huttunen, presented the planned improvements on the facilities during a prior council meeting. The renovations entail major improvements that are of top priority such as ensuring the facilities are compliant with the American with Disabilities Act; upgrades to mechanical, electrical and plumbing; fixing the ice rink systems at the VFW Memorial Arena; and improving the field structure at Itts Williams Park.
Other improvements include installing an emergency generator at the Civic Center and building a connection addition: a new lobby, concessions, viewing areas and multi-purpose rooms in the VFW Memorial Arena.