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Worthington half-percent sales tax to wind down as successor takes shape

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council on Monday took its final step to repeal the city’s local option sales tax — a required action as the tax nears its state-enforced $7.3 million collection limit.

The city intends to end collections on Sept. 30. By state rules, the tax should sunset on the last day of a quarter and the city must give 90 days notice to businesses.

The sales tax was enacted in 2008 after 60 percent of Worthington voters approved a referendum. The tax dollars paid for the construction of the Worthington Event Center, renovations to the Memorial Auditorium and new soccer fields at Buss Field.

Mayor Mike Kuhle on Monday thanked the city council and then-mayor Alan Oberloh for passing the sales tax.

“This has been a very successful sales tax that paid for some very highly used amenities in our community,” Kuhle said.

The council is expected to authorize a November referendum for a replacement half-percent sales tax on July 9. The replacement half-percent sales tax will last 15 years rather than 10.

The council on Monday also heard a presentation on the city’s Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan, during which City Engineer Dwayne Haffield said the city’s ordinances could be tweaked to better prevent illicit discharges into Lake Okabena.

Haffield said concrete washouts had occured at a lakeside park parking lot, draining into Lake Okabena rather than the storm drain.

“There could be things that happen besides that on the lakeshore parks that do not go through our system because they drain directly into the lake,” Haffield said.

Council members agreed a new ordinance needs to address such illicit discharges.

Also during the meeting, council approved a new ordinance to allow for brewpubs.

The council previously passed an ordinance to allow taprooms — which can wholesale beer but can’t dispense other makers’ beer — but not brewpubs, which can dispense beer from other brewers but must also have a restaurant.

Forbidden Barrel Brewing, coming to Worthington next year, had initially set out to be a taproom, but owner Brent Droll changed his mind and now aims to build a brewpub.