Stearns County Mulling Transportation Sales Tax Extension

ST. CLOUD – County of Stearns is considering extending the transportation sales tax after it expires in late 2022.

The county currently collects a 0.25% tax on purchases made within county borders to help pay for road construction projects.

Departmental engineer Jodi teich says that when the tax was first implemented, they planned to raise $ 4.5 million to $ 5 million per year. But, she says, they’ve captured well over $ 6 million each year so far.

Teich says it helps them catch up with a backlog of projects …

We were able to do a significant amount of additional construction with this. Suddenly, we find ourselves caught by our sidewalks which were in very poor condition. I’m not saying we have them all in great shape, (so) we still have a lot of work to do. And, so yeah, it helped us do a significant amount of extra work.

Teich says another option would be to increase the sales tax to 0.50% and use the extra money to cover the $ 2.2 million in tax levies they currently receive each year.

The decision whether or not to extend the sales tax on transportation rests with the county council of commissioners. But, Teich says the first thing they need to do is get out there and get public comment.

Starting in mid-January, the Engineering Department will schedule live and virtual events to get public comment. They will report this data to council in the spring for a public hearing.

The existing transportation sales tax came into effect on January 1, 2018 and will expire on December 31, 2022.

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