Chatfield to get sales tax
distribution from Rochester
Monday, June 24, 2013 9:36 AM
Chatfield will receive $297,543 from the Rochester sales tax option as a result of Rochester City Council action Monday, June 17.
Chatfield was targeted to receive $297,543 for economic development over the next two years when the state Legislature in 2012 allowed, and voters approved, Rochester's sales tax extension request with the condition that $5 million of the sales tax proceeds go to 17 area cities for economic development purposes.
However, in the most recent legislative session, a provision was added that the Rochester City Council must hold a public hearing and approve the distribution.
In April, Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) said she would fight to take the money back and use it toward Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative, although that bid was unsuccessful in the state Legislature. She did get the Legislature to give the Rochester council one more chance to review the issue and she continued her opposition after the legislative session by urging the Rochester council to vote down the proposal.
However, at Monday's meeting, there was no opposition. In fact, council member Ed Hruska said he was disappointed the issue was back before the council, according to the Post Bulletin, which had a reporter at the meeting.
Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston), who was instrumental in getting the original language in the bill when he was chairperson of the House Taxes Committee, had earlier argued that the state can't go in and reverse the decision of the voters. The half-cent sales tax option went before the voters in Rochester last fall. The proposal, which included the language regarding the distribution to surrounding communities, was approved by 65 percent of the voters.
Rochester council members said that they want to be good neighbors and realize that the communities surrounding Rochester contribute to the sales tax money available.
With the final action of the Rochester City Council, Chatfield and the other 16 cities will have funds available in two distributions this year and next to use for economic development projects. Earlier, Rochester officials said they would generally leave the details to the individual cities as long as they meet the state requirements.