Crow Wing County commissioners were asked their opinions of a state proposal that could give counties the option of a half cent sales tax.
The proposal suggests the sales tax instead of raising property taxes to regain revenue after cuts in state aid.
Through the proposal stated by Rep. Paul Marquart, District 9B, the local option sales taxes by cities would be eliminated in counties imposing the sales tax. Tim Houle, county administrator, said Rep. Al Doty, DFL-Royalton, and Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd, asked for feedback from commissioners. Houle said the area does have a volume of visitors who require services but do not pay property taxes here.
Commissioner Paul Thiede said it was dangerous to think a sales tax just takes money from visitors. Thiede said with both parties throwing out ideas, he hoped they'd spend as much time talking about ways to be more efficient than whose pocket to take money from.
Houle said he was pleased the legislators were seeking input and the county staff certainly received the message for greater efficiency. Houle said he'd pass on the message that at this point in time the county doesn't see the need for additional revenue.
In other business, the board:
Amended the county's planning and zoning fees in regard to "new construction" residential projects, adding $250 for each additional square foot beyond 4,000 square feet.
Approved a $20,000 state grant for additional patrol and enforcement on Crow Wing County lakes from May 9 to Sept. 7. The sheriff's department requested two part-time deputies be hired with the grant in order to increase patrol hours without going into additional overtime.
Approved hiring temporary seasonal workers - a seasonal household hazardous waste technical assistant, seasonal boat and water interns and deputies, and a seasonal facilities groundskeeper.
Approved an out-of-state travel request for the sheriff's department to send an employee to training for emergency vehicle operations, such as driving in a pursuit. The training is required every three years. The sheriff's department would like to send an employee who could come back and train officers annually here, potentially at Brainerd International Raceway, and in the future offer that training to other departments for a fee.
Debated when to schedule the Board of Equalization with a date to be confirmed after checking to make sure picking a June Saturday will work with state obligations and not require two Saturday sessions.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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