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Bloomington Briefing

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Why is the City proposing a local sales tax?

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Bloomington Briefing Published May 3, 2022
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Updated on May 3, 2022
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The City Council has put forward a proposal to the Minnesota state legislature to ask Bloomington voters to consider a half-cent sales tax on retail sales in Bloomington to fund four regionally significant projects.

“Most of the City’s public infrastructure and facilities were built back in the 1960s and 70s when the city was growing quickly. Many facilities are becoming functionally obsolete,” City Manager Jamie Verbrugge said.

Bloomington’s request is moving through the legislative process. The Legislature may require some cities to trim their requests. In preparation for that, the City Council prioritized the projects on April 4, as follows:

  1. Bloomington Ice Garden improvements
  2. Community Health and Wellness Center
  3. Bloomington Center for the Arts expansion
  4. Dwan Golf Course improvements

Some of the proposed projects, such as the improvements at BIG, are necessary to continue providing effective services.

“This project is a high priority for the City because of the need to replace BIG’s refrigeration system, which is needed to make ice.  The current system runs on a refrigerant that has been phased out and is no longer being produced or imported,” Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Susan Faus said. “BIG’s roof also has some significant leaks that are an ongoing challenge that must be fixed, in addition to outdated major mechanical systems, such as HVAC. These improvements need to be made. If they are not funded through a sales tax, we’ll need to determine an alternative funding source.”

A revenue source, such as a local sales tax, makes funding the projects possible with less reliance on property taxpayers. According to the University of Minnesota’s Extension Office Study, 75% of a local sales tax revenue would come from nonresidents.

If Bloomington’s local option sales tax request is approved by the state legislature and becomes law, each individual project will go before Bloomington voters in November. For more information about the local sales tax and proposed projects, visit blm.mn/bst.