Voters from Baxter, Lake Shore and the Pequot Lakes area will head to the polls Nov. 2 to vote for their favored candidates as well as answer questions that range from a local option sales tax, to a new liquor license, to reducing the size of a city council and to adding funding for the school district.
The city of Baxter will ask its taxpayers to authorize the city to impose a sales tax of .5 percent on items already taxable in Minnesota. Automotive vehicles are limited to a total tax of $20.
Baxter is proposing to use the additional sales tax to fund water and wastewater infrastructure projects, including a water treatment plant, an additional water tower and expanded wastewater treatment capacity. Two other proposed uses of the sales tax proceeds would be for a fire substation and a portion of the Paul Bunyan Trail bridge over Excelsior Road.
Lake Shore voters will be asked if the city be allowed to issue an additional on-sale liquor license for the sale of intoxicating liquor at retail in addition to the number now permitted by law. The city is authorized to have four on-sale licenses and the referendum question, if passed, would allow for one more on-sale liquor license. Lost Lake Lodge made the request for an on-sale license and council members decided in July to put the question to its voters.
The city of Pequot Lakes will ask voters whether the city council should be reduced from seven to five members. The city previously increased the city council by two members in 2002 when the city underwent orderly annexation proceedings with Sibley Township. The larger council allowed for equal representation from both municipalities. Since that time, the city council decided it was not necessary to continue with a seven-member council and placed the question on the Nov. 2 ballot. If it passes, it will not take effect until 2006, said Pequot Lakes Mayor Cathy Malecha.
The Pequot Lakes School District is asking taxpayers to vote for an operating levy referendum on Nov. 2. There are three questions on the ballot with each additional question reliant on a "yes" vote from the previous question to pass.
The first question asks district voters for a $528.07 per pupil unit increase to maintain the current curriculum and programming. The second question asks district voters for an additional $200 per pupil unit increase to lower class sizes. The third question, if passed, would authorize an additional $160.27 per pupil unit increase to add and update curriculum materials and upgrade technology.
If all three questions were to be approved by district voters, the referendum would provide an additional $888.34 per pupil unit.
According to information provided by the school district, if all three questions passed, the annual tax increase on the school-portion of property taxes on a $100,000 market value home would be $146.
JODIE TWEED can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
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