UPDATED: Half-cent sales tax formally adopted

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington City Council hosted a hearing Monday on the half-cent sales tax extension authorized by the Minnesota Legislature in this year's tax bill.

WORTHINGTON - The Worthington City Council hosted a hearing Monday on the half-cent sales tax extension authorized by the Minnesota Legislature in this year’s tax bill.

The law allows the city of Worthington to collect on its half-cent sales tax up to $7.3 million, up from the original $6 million limit imposed when voters approved the tax in 2008.

Of the extra funds, $1.2 million will be used to pay off the Buss Field reconstruction project, and the remaining $100,000 will go toward new seating at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center.


Andy Johnson, president of the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, spoke in favor of the extension, and nobody testified against it.



The council adopted the resolution, which will go into effect in 30 days after it’s first published in The Globe. In that time period, if a petition is signed by voters equal to 10 percent of the votes cast in the city in the last general election, a referendum vote will be triggered to either approve or shoot down the tax.


Also during Monday’s meeting, council members agreed to have the city pay a share for a new full-time Nobles County position of crime victim witness coordinator. The hiring could be done if the county is awarded a Crime Victim grant.


Nobles County Attorney Kathleen Kusz said the position would greatly enhance communication with crime victims.


“It would devote one person to organizing witnesses for cases and victims of city and county cases; one person to go to for information and assistance on their cases,” Kusz said. “If you have one person to go to, it really helps keep those people involved.”



If the county is given the entire $70,000 grant, the city would be asked to contribute a maximum of $4,375 toward the new position.


The council also accepted a donation from the Lake Okabena Improvement Association to place a new floating dock in Sunset Bay. The dock will be used by boaters to unload people, and is meant to improve the traffic flow at the busiest boat landing dock on the lake.


With the floating dock in place, boaters will not have to wait for the area to clear if there is a boat unloading at the boat landing.


In other news, the council:



  • Amended the budget to purchase an aerator and seeder for a total cost of $32,078.16. The equipment will be used primarily to maintain and repair Buss Field and other athletic facilities.


  • Entered the city into a new partnership contract with Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).


  • Added a new Engineering CAD/GIS Technician open position, as the city’s engineering department has a backlog that needs to be addressed.


  • Modified the salary grade of the city’s Engineering Technician position from $26.27 per hour to $27.37 per hour.
  • Approved changes to the Employee Advisory Committee bylaws to reduce the number of members from six to five, make the chairperson a voting member and change meetings to every other month rather than quarterly. The changes are subject to approval by the city attorney.  
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