It appears the Rice County Board of Commissioners are going to attempt to pay for construction of the new Public Safety Center, at least in part, through a sales tax.  County Administrator Sara Folstad told Commissioners today meeting as a Committee of the Whole the proposal would take the total burden off property taxpayers.

Folstad explained even if the county board approves the idea at their meeting next week they need legislative permission and voter approval...

Folstad and County Property Tax a nd Elections Director Denise Anderson made the sale tax presentation to commissioners...

Commissioneres were presented scenarios for a one-quarter percent sales tax and one-half percent tax with a 30 year bond.  The numbers showed the quarter percent raising just under 15 million dollars under what is needed for the Public Safety Center construction project.  A half percent would more than pay for it.  Legally the county could only capture what is needed and then the tax would end.

Commissioner Steve Underdahl was the lone member of the board to state his opinion on the percentage saying he favored the one-quarter percent...

Folstad was confident regardless of the method chosen bond approval would not be a problem...

Commissioners also heard a presentation about redistricting.  County Elections Director Denise Anderson says they are currently waiting on the state redistricting plan but wanted the board to approve nine guiding principles while conducting their redistricting efforts.  One of them is no protection of current office holders...

John Fossum, County Attorney explained the principles were already part of state statute...

Principles also included not splitting political subdivisions among the districts like Webster has concerning congressional legislative districts.  Fossum added there are other issues working there...

Redistricting requires the five Rice County Commissioner districts to have an equal number of constituents.

This is fascinating.

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