The Minnesota Legislature approved Cloquet's 0.5% sales tax bill, completing what City Administrator Tim Peterson called one of the larger steps in implementing the tax within the city.
"Everything that we needed to do with the Legislature is now done," Peterson told the Cloquet City Council on Tuesday, July 6.
However, Peterson said that even though a major step has been accomplished, the process is far from over. The city council will still need to vote on whether to approve the bill as a new city law at their July 20 meeting, after which it will be brought to the public as a referendum question on the November 2022 general election ballot.
“We are at least moving forward through the process," Peterson said.
The city council first voted on the sales tax in November 2020, unanimously approving a resolution to bring it to the state. According to Peterson, the new sales tax would go into effect in either the first or second quarter of 2023 and would not overlap with the current 0.5% sales tax collected by the city.
“This is not necessarily an increase in the sales tax,” Peterson told the council last November. “It's not necessarily a continuation either, but if the timing worked out, we would basically just continue the existing 0.5% sales tax that we have already in place.”
If passed, the money from the tax will go towards funding repairs and improvements at Pine Valley and Northwoods Credit Union hockey arenas, as well as Pine Valley Park. Peterson said there are an array of improvements and repairs set to be included in the project, with more than $6 million to be designated towards the ice arenas and over $2.1 million to Pine Valley Park.
Under Minnesota state statute, the tax bill was required to have an expiration date. According to the bill, the tax will expire when the city council determines that sufficient funds have been gained or after 10 years, whichever comes first.