(Editor’s note: This is the third in a three-part series based on videos presented about the half-cent sales tax on the Sartell city website.)
by Dennis Dalman
The City of Sartell received about $9 million in half-cent sales-tax revenue in 2013, according to Robin Hadley of the Sartell Planning Commission.
Hadley, along with long-time resident Steve Feneis, presented information about the sales tax in one of three videos that can be viewed on the City of Sartell website.
Feneis noted many city necessities and amenities would have to be paid for through property taxes if it were not for the half-cent sales tax. The sales tax, he noted, is a “user tax” all shoppers pay in the six cities that have a joint agreement on the sales tax: Sartell, St. Joseph, St. Cloud, St. Augusta, Sauk Rapids and Waite Park.
The cities began collecting the tax in 2006. Last year, a collective total of $9 million was raised via the tax, with $1 million of that sum going to Sartell. The money can be used for parks, road improvements and amenities such as community centers, as long as the projects can be defined as “regional” in nature – that is, they could be used by anybody who lives in one or more of the six cities of the greater St. Cloud area.
Feneis noted the current half-cent sales tax will end in 2018, unless residents of the cities approve an extension of it – from 2019 through 2038. Last year, the state legislature authorized an extension but only if residents approve it on a referendum, which will be on the Nov. 4 ballots in all six cities.
Sartell could receive an estimated $35 million in revenue from the half-cent sales tax during that 20-year extension period. But if Sartell voters do not approve the extension request, the city will receive none of the generated revenue even though they will still have to pay the sales tax when shopping in nearby cities.
To view all three sales-tax videos, go to www.sartellmn.com, then click on “Referendum Vote to Extend the ½-Cent Sales Tax.” Scroll down and the three videos will be there to click on and to view.