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Sales tax in, wheelage tax out

A countywide sales tax will go into effect October 1 to help fund road projects in Douglas County.

On Tuesday, county commissioners authorized the new half-cent sales tax with a 3-2 vote.

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Commissioners Bev Bales, Jerry Johnson and Jim Stratton voted to support the sales tax increase and Charlie Meyer and Dan Olson voted against it.

A Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation will fund county road improvement projects in Douglas County totaling about $38 million.

The countywide sales tax will increase the current tax by 0.5 percent and generate about $3.5 million per year for eight to 10 years.

Bales said she had received calls from constituents who opposed the local option sales tax, but she said she told them that the only alternative would be a property tax increase.

The sales tax money will be used to rebuild 11 segments of county roads, proposed to include:

● County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 1 from the county line to south of Kensington.

● CSAH 3 from CSAH 10 just south of County Road (CR) 71.

● CSAH 4 from Highway 114 to CSAH 28.

● CSAH 5 from CSAH 7 to CSAH 6.

● CSAH 7 from CSAH 8 to Interstate 94.

● CSAH 8 from west of CSAH 7 to CSAH 40.

● CSAH 9 from north of Nelson to south of Carlos.

● CSAH 12 from north of Garfield to CR 58.

● CSAH 14 from east of Mitona to east of the county line.

● CSAH 17 from CR 79 to CSAH 82.

● CSAH 41 from Interstate 94 to CSAH 82.



Following approval of the local option sales tax on Tuesday, commissioners also approved a resolution that rescinds the county’s wheelage tax as of December 31, 2014.

The vote was 3-2; Meyer, Olson and Stratton voted yes and Bales and Johnson voted no.

Douglas County’s wheelage tax is $10 tacked onto vehicle license tab renewals. The wheelage tax was set to increase to $20 per vehicle in 2018. It went into effect in January 2014.

The wheelage tax is projected to bring in $360,000 this year to be used in the county’s road and bridge fund.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

(320) 763-3133