BAXTER -- Baxter will move forward with its plan to let Baxter residents decide upon a half-percent sales tax as a referendum question on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.
Baxter council members previously expressed interest in having other area cities such as Brainerd and Nisswa also pass a local option sales tax, but no city proclaimed its intent 90 days or more before the election, as required by the Legislature.
On Wednesday, council members unanimously supported going ahead with the referendum.
"I don't think it's lacking regional support, but (other cities) just didn't meet the timeline. We've got to get the ball rolling," said Mark Cross, Baxter council member.
The half-percent sales tax, if approved by Baxter voters, would generate $15 million and expire in 12 years. It would be used to pay for general obligation bonds for all or part of the city's share for expanding water and waste water facilities, constructing and equipping a fire substation and construction of a Paul Bunyan Trail bridge over Excelsior Road.
Baxter City Administrator Dennis Coryell said there had been some discussion about splitting the referendum into three questions for each specific use of the sales tax, but the council decided to keep all three as one question on the ballot.
The proposed sales tax, if approved by voters, would still need to be approved by the Legislature.
Coryell said the money from the sales tax, if approved, probably wouldn't be available until 2006.
In other action, the council:
Entered into a trade agreement to give Ironwood Drive and Mapleton Road to Crow Wing County in exchange for County Road 160.
Accepted the 100 percent petition for city streets, water, sanitary sewer and street lights for Honeysuckle Acres.
Accepted the resignation of Todd Holman, community development director. "Todd, it's been an honor and pleasure working with you from Day One," said Mayor Gary Muehlhausen. Council Member Darrel Olson, responding to recent Open Forum letters and Vox Pop comments in the Dispatch critical of Holman, said contrary to what anyone might think Holman was "the most professional government employee" he had ever met. Holman thanked the council, and advised them to keep on top of the city's comprehensive plan update and a possible developmental moratorium in shoreland areas.
Held a public hearing for the Art Ward Road, Baxter Lions Drive, Laverne Circle, Oakwood Drive, Clearwater Road and Whipple Beach area roadway and utility improvements. The council took no action on the projects Wednesday.
Held a public hearing to consider awarding a cable television franchise agreement to Consolidated Telephone Co. The council took no action Wednesday.
Approved a partial payment of $154,174 to R.L. Larson Excavating for the 2004 Deerwood Road and Ironwood Meadows improvement project.
Approved a partial payment of $551,130 to Tom's Backhoe Services for the 2004 Clearwater/Inglewood Drive improvement project.
Accepted a bid of $320,311 from Redstone Construction Co. for the Kenwood Drive and Sandstone Road improvements.
Approved an interim conditional use permit to Stephanie Horn to operate a residential day care at 11663 Forestview Drive.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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