Questions about upcoming EGF special election answered
A special election for a vote on implementing a new sales tax in East Grand Forks ends in less than two weeks. The 1 percent sales tax seeks to cover the estimated $2.1 million renovation project set to wrap up this spring at the city's swimming ...
A special election for a vote on implementing a new sales tax in East Grand Forks ends in less than two weeks.
The 1 percent sales tax seeks to cover the estimated $2.1 million renovation project set to wrap up this spring at the city's swimming pool. If approved, the tax could only be used for funding the swimming pool project, City Executive Assistant Megan Nelson said.
The city opted for a mail-in special election, so registered voters should have received a ballot in the mail earlier this month. Included with the ballot is a prepaid envelope to send the ballot to City Hall for counting. The ballots must be received by the city by March 7.
The following are common questions asked about the upcoming election and their accompanying answers.
What is the ballot language?
The ballot language is as follows:
"Shall the city of East Grand Forks be authorized to impose a sales and use tax of 1 percent for five years or until the project is paid for, whichever comes last, for the purpose of paying for the public swimming pool renovation project?"
What happens if the sales tax passes by public vote?
If East Grand Forks voters approve the sales tax, the results would be taken to the state Legislature, which also needs to approve implementing the tax. If legislators vote to enact a special law including the tax, then the city would need to notify the Commissioner of Revenue at least 90 days before the first day of the calendar quarter on which the tax is to be imposed.
That means the earliest the sales tax could go into effect would be July. The city estimates revenue from the tax would take approximately five years to pay off the pool project. Once the project is paid for, the tax would cease.
What happens if the sales tax fails?
If the sales tax fails, the cost of the pool renovation project will be paid for by the residents of East Grand Forks through property taxes. The city has secured a loan from its Water and Light Department to cover the pool's renovation cost. The loan payment is not included in the city budget, so property taxes would need to increase to cover the project. The city estimates it would pay off the loan in 20 years.
What is the mail-in ballot deadline?
Any ballot mailed to East Grand Forks City Hall must be received the day of March 7 in order to be counted. Any rejected ballots will be returned to their senders with a letter explaining the reason why. A second ballot will be mailed in this case but must be returned to City Hall by March 7.
I've voted before but didn't receive a ballot. Why?
Ballots were sent out to voters registered as of Feb. 15. If you moved within city limits and did not update your voter registration with your current address, it's likely your name did not appear on the city's registered voters roster pulled for the ballot mailing.
I didn't receive a ballot but am an eligible voter. Can I still vote?
Eligible voters who did not receive a ballot can vote absentee at City Hall in the Administration Office during regular business hours leading up to Election Day. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 5, the City Hall training room also will be open to allow residents to vote absentee.
The training room will serve as a polling location for absentee voters 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. The training room is located on the ground floor to the south of the elevator. City Hall is the only place absentee votes can be cast in person.
How can I register to vote?
Residents not already registered to vote can do so by filling out an application on the day of the election at the City Hall. Those registering in person must bring a valid form of identification, which can include a photo ID, student ID with a picture, a photo Tribal ID or a voter registration card for the same precinct but with a different address. In addition to identification, residents who need to register also must have proof of residence in the form of a utility bill or a rent statement dated within 30 days of Election Day.
Who can I call with other election questions?
Any remaining questions can be directed to the city's Administration Office at (218) 773-2483.