Crow Wing County Board Extends Local Option Sales Tax, Discusses Land Use, and More from April 13 Meeting

Crow Wing County Board Extends Local Option Sales Tax, Discusses Land Use, and More from April 13 Meeting

April 15, 2021 News -- KKIN-KFGI-KLKS-WWWI 0

(BRAINERD, MN) — The Crow Wing County Board held its latest regular meeting on Tuesday, April 13. It was a meeting that saw some extensive discussion on several different topics.

First, county engineer Tim Bray presented the 2021-2025 Highway Improvement Plan to the board, starting with a brief overview.

Here is the outline for the HIP and a map showing plans for it, as shown in the board meeting:

The HIP was approved unanimously.

Bray then gave a presentation on the county’s Local Option Sales Tax (LOST), which has been at 1/2 cent since 2015 and was set to expire after 2025. Bray’s county-backed proposal extended that sales tax through 2040. Commissioner Paul Koering offered his input, expressing that while he had originally opposed the tax when it was introduced, he has since changed his stance upon seeing the benefits it has brought to his district.

Though the board briefly discussed a letter from the Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce expressing a desire to set the expiration date at 2035 instead of 2040, they unanimously agreed to extend it to 2040 as proposed.

The board then heard from Jake Frie, an Environmental Services Supervisor, on a suggestion from Planning and Zoning that would amend the county’s land use map in the city of Baxter; specifically, designating 10 residential plots of land as commercial for the future. Commissioner Koering first expressed support for the proposal, citing the board’s duty to forecast growth, but the city of Baxter had officially opposed it, so commissioner Steve Barrows offered his perspective.

Commissioner Doug Houge was the first commissioner to explicitly oppose the suggestion, citing a lack of support from the residents of Baxter and the mostly negative feedback it was getting.

Commissioners Bill Brekken and Rosemary Franzen agreed with Houge, and ultimately the suggestion fell by the wayside.

Finally, county administrator Tim Houle gave his presentation and discussed the current COVID landscape in Crow Wing County, providing both good news and bad news. The good news, Houle said, was that the current state of vaccinations provided reasons for optimism.

And as for the bad news…

The full Crow Wing County Board meeting from April 13 can be viewed here.