Marshall sales tax question will go to voters
MARSHALL — Marshall voters will be deciding this fall whether to extend the amount of time the city’s local sales tax is in effect. On Thursday, the city announced that the Minnesota Legislature and governor have approved the special legislation needed to hold a vote on the sales tax.
The referendum question would be on the ballot Nov. 7, city spokespeople said in a news release. The Marshall City Council will consider approving the referendum at their next meeting.
If approved by the public, the referendum wouldn’t raise Marshall’s local sales tax, city staff said. Instead, it would keep the city’s current half-percent sales tax in place for longer than originally planned. Doing so would provide $18.3 million in funds to build a new Aquatic Center in Marshall, city staff said.
Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes said he was grateful for area legislators, including Sen. Gary Dahms, Sen. Bill Weber and Rep. Chris Swedzinski, for their support for the special legislation. Byrnes said Marshall is “an active and growing community that values parks and recreation as important to improving quality of life. The new aquatic center will be a destination for Marshall and the region.”
Marshall has been working on plans for a new Aquatic Center — and trying to extend the local sales tax to help pay for it — for over a year. The request for a sales tax extension was part of legislation that was not passed by state lawmakers in their 2022 session.
The current Aquatic Center facilities face some significant problems with leaks, lack of accessibility, and other issues. The main pool was built in 1937, and has significant cracking and structural deterioration, city staff said. The general use pool and diving pool lose about 12,000 to 15,000 gallons of water a day, staff said.
A proposed new Aquatic Center facility would include amenities like an eight-lane lap pool, zero-depth entry area, splash pad and an accessible bath house, city staff said. However, building a new facility would be too costly to fund through property taxes alone. In its news release, the city estimated that the property tax levy would have to increase 18-20% to cover the cost of a new aquatic center.
A Marshall community survey conducted in 2021 showed that respondents had a mainly positive reaction to the idea of extending the city sales tax to help fund amenities like an aquatic center.