ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - Despite concerns about inflation and a 2024 presidential election ahead, voters throughout Minnesota approved several ballot questions aimed at maintenance of city utilities, as well as, projects for future use of its residents, while increasing or extending their own taxes as a result.
With specific ballot questions for each measure approved by voters, below is a breakdown of the new or extended taxes or bond issuances approved in cities throughout Minnesota.
All 16 precincts have reported vote tallies to approve new bond sales designed to improve its city’s park systems and create new trails.
In the first of two questions posed to resident voters, 5,812 people, or 66.52%, approved the city to issue general obligation bonds, in an amount not to exceed $66.75 million, for improvements to existing recreational trails, and the construction of new recreational ones.
Specific infrastructure such as the Apple Valley Community Center, Apple Valley Senior & Events Center, the Apple Valley Family Aquatic Center and the Hayes Arena will also be improved in the process, plus the construction of a youth baseball/softball complex.
The second question involved the construction of a municipal swimming pool and related facilities at Redwood Park, in which the city would issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $6.5 million. The measure was approved by 5,231, or 60.12% of voters.
Residents in Bloomington were faced with three questions aimed at improving their physical health. All 31 precincts have reported results.
The first question asked residents to approve a .5% sales tax, for up to 20 years for $100 million (plus interest and bond issuance), to build a new Community Health and Wellness Center. The tax was approved by 11,575 voters, or 56.18%.
The second question asked residents to approve a .5% sales tax, for up to 20 years for $35 million (plus interest and bond issuance), for improvements to the Bloomington Ice Garden. The tax was approved by 10,920 voters, or 53.05%.
The third ballot question asked to approve another .5% sales tax, for 20 years for $20 million (plus interest and bond issuance), for new construction and restoration of the Nine Mile Creek Corridor, including Moir and Central parks. The tax was approved by 10,757 voters, or 52.30%.
Residents of Edina were tasked with whether to increase the budget of a park and arena project that is currently underway.
The sole ballot question posed to residents asked whether the city should be authorized to amend its spending plan for Braemar Park and Arena, from $21.6 million to a total of $53.3 million, for expansion and additional improvements. To pay for it, a sales tax previously approved by Edina voters of 0.5% would remain in place for a maximum of 19 years, or until enough revenue has been collected to pay for final costs.
According to the city ballot, the approval of the question would not impact funding from sales taxes for the Fred Richards Park project that was approved by voters in November 2022.
A total of 3,903 votes, or 66.11%, approved the measure.
Golden Valley residents approved a 1.25% sales tax to fund $105 million in infrastructure upgrades for police, fire, and public works.
Golden Valley wants to build and enhance several city facilities that administrators believe are outdated and no longer support modern needs, in turn asking for the 1.25% sales tax to finance the building projects over 30 years.
Voters were faced with three questions on the ballot: The first to acquire land and build a new public works facility away from downtown (approved by 3,053 voters or 53.3%); the second to build a public works facility for $45 million (approved by 2,936 or 51.52%); and the third to build a new police and fire facility for $45 million where a public works facility currently sits (approved by 3,081 voters, or 53.9%).
The tax question that received perhaps the most attention, St. Paul residents were asked to vote on the establishment of a 1% sales tax over the next 20 years to generate $738 million to repair and improve streets and bridges, and $246 million to improve parks and recreation facilities.
The authorization was ultimately approved by 28,913 voters, or 60.19% after all 86 precincts were counted.
When the new tax takes effect on April 1, 2024, St. Paul will have the highest sales tax rate in the state at 9.875%.
Residents in Rochester were faced with whether to extend a tax meant to benefit street reconstruction and a sports and recreation complex.
The ballot question asked whether the city should extend the existing sales tax of .5% for approximately 24 years, or when $205 million has been raised to fund an "economic vitality fund" (not to exceed $50 million), street reconstruction (not to exceed $50 million), and flood/water quality control for the removal of the MN00515 dam (not to exceed $40 million) and a sports and recreation complex (not to exceed $65 million).
The question was approved by 10,567 voters or 53.60% of those who cast a ballot.