Local boards continue to move ahead with 1% sales tax projects

Commissioner Bob Fenwick
Commissioner Bob Fenwick

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Groups looking for project funding through the 1% sales tax continue to meet, preparing to bring their findings to the county board. With no 1% oversight committee yet in place, commissioners have encouraged local boards to collect data on their building projects.
 
According to Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, the tax has been collected from the beginning of April. He said it would be convenient for the tax collection to remain untapped for a year, so his office could get a clearer picture of the actual expected revenue. After a year, it would be possible, however for some of the smaller projects to request cash from the 1% balance.
 
Powers feels the more likely approach will be to group all projects requesting funding in a lump sum bonding action. Bond interest rates remain low and Powers speculates they could stay that way for a year or so.
 
The Community Center Board of Trustees has been collecting data regarding user groups. That data, gathered through surveys, has been tabulated and is ready now for the use of a pre-design architect.
 
Commissioner Bob Fenwick told the county board Tuesday, that discussions with the Senior Center to be included in the Community Center plan continue and seem positive. “The situation remains in flux. The Senior Center hasn’t decided to keep their building or move. But it looks positive. It looks good.”
 
According to Community Center Director Diane Booth, the board has also put together a list of other community centers located in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  They plan to have groups travelling to some sites in order to bring back information about features that have been requested by these communities.
Booth said the pre-design Request for Proposal is in outline draft form and the group will be meeting this week to for a review.
 
The Grand Marais Library Board is actively seeking to hire an architect to make final drawings of a proposed 3,000 square foot addition planned for the east and south sides of the current library building.

Inclusion of the library in a community center complex has been discussed. According to County Board Chair Fritz Sobanja, who sits on the library board, that’s not about to happen. The library board has decided to keep the library where it is and add on space to almost double the current size of the building.

 
As soon as the board gets quotes back from several architects, they will present design costs to the County Commissioners and discuss funding options, including use of the 1% sales tax.


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