Watertown Ice Rink May See Sales Tax Requirement, Will Not Increase Property Taxes

The Watertown Development Co. has chosen to withdraw from the existing memorandum of understanding concerning the project of a new skating rink in the city.

“The MoU has changed, with Watertown Development Co. choosing to focus solely on the economic development aspect of it. They are still engaged. We have an agreement. All the best parts of the MOU are still in place, and we continue to move forward. This is a slight change to the original plan, but you don’t tackle a huge project like this without a few hiccups along the way, ”Mayor Ried Holien said at the city council meeting. from last week.

With Watertown Development Co.’s decision, the ice installation will likely require a sales tax bond.

“I believe it is relevant for the city to take the lead and ensure that the ice facility is built. And the way to do that is to issue a sales tax bond, ”said city manager Amanda Mack.

Following:City council responds to concerns at the cost of several major city projects

A sales tax obligation will not increase property taxes. The money comes from the city’s two-cent sales tax. This is a source of funding that Watertown hopes the ice facility will grow with tourism and growth within the city.

“Every time we issue bonds, everyone wants to know by how much their taxes are going to increase,” said city councilor Glen Vilhauer. “These are sales tax obligations, which have no impact on anyone’s property tax. No, your taxes are not going to go up on your house because of what we are planning to do here.

The project schedule indicating next steps remains the same despite the withdrawal of Watertown Development Co. A design plan is the next phase, and the rink committee recently visited seven different ice facilities in Minnesota. The tours provided the committee with ideas and costs for arena plans that could be used in Watertown.

“We will have an open discussion on what everyone saw. What we liked and what we didn’t like. These few days are the most important in the entire design of the facility. What did they do right, what did they do wrong? Equally important is that we get their advice. Everyone wants a great ice facility. This will help you get the most out of your budget, ”said Dick Strassburg, Tegra Group project owner representative.

Following:Ice rink enters base design planning phase

Once the tours are complete, the committee will take a month to review the designs and figure out what the “base model” will be. The base model will include all of the rink must-haves without any of the extra aspects that would make it a more multi-functional setup.

Amanda Mack, Director of the Town of Watertown

“The further you go in the process, the more precise it will be. As it moves forward, as the plan develops, the dollar amount that is set in advance will be a combination of what you want and what you can afford, ”Strassburg said.

The rink will also need an at-risk construction manager, who will help polish the budget and finalize it. The Construction Manager at Risk is an open application, which means any qualified person can apply. The Ice Committee plans to hire the at-risk construction manager by September 20.

The next steps for the arena are to place the steel order by the end of October and the ground no later than the spring.

“We were elected at a time when the town of Watertown inherited many long-term and long-term projects. A lot of people in the community get nervous when these projects come in, and they see the cost and the responsibility. I would encourage anyone who, rather than being nervous, gets excited. We have the opportunity to finally tackle all those projects that have been hovering over the town of Watertown for years, if not decades. We will do them well and we will be mindful of taxpayer dollars. But we also want to invest in the future of Watertown, ”said Holien.

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