Half-cent sales tax gets approval in WorthingtonNelson unseats Petrich in city council matchup; Woll re-elected
Proponents of the half-cent local option sales tax only needed a simple majority to pass the referendum, but they got more than that.
By: Laura Grevas, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Proponents of the half-cent local option sales tax only needed a simple majority to pass the referendum, but they got more than that.
Nearly 60 percent of Worthington voters supported the tax, which will help fund renovations to the Memorial Auditorium and the construction of a community center complex.
In all, the referendum drew 2,553 yes votes — 856 more than the 1,697 no votes.
Ken Moser, head of the committee to pass the referendum, was relieved when the final tallies were released.
“I was very apprehensive with the economic situation, the environmental vote that was out there and the general state of folks that distrust government at this point,” he said late Tuesday night. “I figured it was going to be a 49 to 51 (percent) — very, very close. I am in awe at the level where it passed.”
Moser also thanked the committee in support of the referendum and the community.
“I’m excited about future opportunities both these projects will bring to Worthington,” he said.
Collection of the tax is set to begin on April 1 of next year.
In the meantime, the city will work to finalize the operating agreement with Plymouth-based Ruhr Development, which will operate the community center complex and a hotel to be built alongside it. Design plans will be firmed up and permits applications filed. Ruhr will work with Goldridge Construction on the project, which could begin as soon as next year. Renovations to Memorial Auditorium will also likely begin in 2009.
In Worthington City Council races, one new face will join the council for the next four years.
Newcomer Scott Nelson earned 57 percent of the vote, defeating incumbent Bob Petrich 1,286 votes to 966 in Ward 2.
For the alderman-at-large position, incumbent Mike Woll beat out newcomer Jason Barrie. Lyle Ten Haken, who was running unopposed for alderman of Ward 1, received 1,606 votes. This will be his third term on the council.
“We’re absolutely delighted the city has chosen us to work on their behalf,” Nelson said late Tuesday. “I would also like to say thanks to Bob Petrich for his eight years of service for the city. I think that’s totally awesome.”
As the new alderman, he hopes to “see something done for the seniors” and prioritize finding a solution for the city’s housing crisis.
Nelson said he has spent the last five weeks knocking on almost every door in Ward 2.
“I asked an awful lot of questions and got a lot of responses,” he said. “I have listened to their opinions and taken them to heart.”
Woll was re-elected to his second term as alderman-at-large, earning 69 percent of the vote and beating out Barrie 2,825 votes to 1,251 votes.
“It’s an exciting time for Worthington … The best days are ahead and it’s nice to be part of that,” Woll said Tuesday. He added the city has a lot of projects in the works.
“Execution is something we’re going to work on,” he said. “Laying out a further vision on a lot of things that are under way.”