Sales Tax for Infrastructure?





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Published on Oct 12, 2009

Jamestown, ND (KCSi-T.V. News) -- At a meeting on Monday (October 12th) a committee discussed considering taking up to one-half percent of the City Sales Tax collections for city infrastructure. Included in the discussions at the meeting at the Otter Tail Power Company meeting room, were representatives from the City of Jamestown, including Jamestown City Council members Pat Nygaard, and Kelani Parisien, along with City Administrator Jeff Fuchs and City Engineer Reed Schwartzkopf. Jamestown Stutsman Development Corporation members were Jim Boyd and Alex Schweitzer, along with CEO Connie Ova. The meeting was recorded by KCSi-T.V. 10, THE REPLAY CHANNEL with playback dates to be announced.

Over 1,000 signatures were included in a petition presented to the Jamestown City Council, to consider using one half percent of the sales tax, now earmarked exclusively for economic development, to include city infrastructure improvement.

At Monday's meeting, a consensus was reached by those present for the city and JSDC to work together to determine the scope of infrastructure needs, determine costs, and provide information to the public, so meetings can be set up to receive public input.

City Council member Pat Nygaard said options may include infrastructure funding, with or without a city sales tax, or using one half of the one percent for infrastructure.

City Administrator Jeff Fuchs said the scope should include areas of revenue sources, and how much of the city's infrastructure needs repair/replacing, and determine the funding process. In the future, the committee may also need to determine what needs to be addressed first, the scope of the project or the sales tax issue. He said a committee in 1991 looked into both infrastructure and economic development when proposing the vote, and decided the community need at that time was for economic development.

City Engineer Reed Schwartzkopf said the overall scope of what needs to be accomplished should be addressed,and then prioritizing the projects.

JSDC Board member, Alex Schweitzer said, economic development and infrastructure are not "mutually exclusive," and CEO Connie Ova said about 25-percent of the sale tax dollars for economic development are used for infrastructure funding. JSDC Board Chairman, Jim Boyd said JSDC wants to be "part of the solution," to determine uses for the sales tax.

City Council Woman Kelani Parisien added the city and JSDC need to put aside past differences and work together for the good of the Jamestown Community.

John Grabinger, who is a petition organizer, reminded the committee that the petition language was clear...for the Jamestown City Council to take the lead in making a determination for the sales tax use in the future, or put the issue to a vote of the people.

From the audience, Duane Enzminger told the committee he's received comments from those outside of Jamestown that they didn't want to spend their sales tax dollars to pay for Jamestown's infrastructure.

The committee agreed to move forward with additional meetings to determine the scope of infrastructure replacement, priorities, costs, funding and recommendations to the City Council. A format for future meetings will be worked out to include speakers with input from the public, and future committee participants. It was suggested that Ms. Parisien chair the committee.


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