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It’s not Mars; it’s my streets.

On Facebook, I saw a picture that could have been from Mars, or from Hibbing (where the earth has been gutted by mines in a monstrously, sublimely beautiful way).

But it wasn’t. It was a Duluth street.

(On Facebook the photo is cropped without the yellow line. This makes it look even more out-of scale Martian.)

In the next election, I understand, there is something to be done about it.

From the ballot:

Should the city of Duluth request the Minnesota State legislature to authorize the city to enact a 0.5% general sales and use tax on sales and use of goods and services as currently applied within the city for a term of up to 25 years from the date of first collection thereof dedicated to funding implementation of the city’s designated Street Improvement Program? A “yes” vote means you favor the city of Duluth requesting authority to enact a 0.5% sales and use tax dedicated to fund the Street Improvement Program. A “no” vote means you do not favor the city of Duluth requesting the authority to enact a 0.5% sales and use tax dedicated to funding the Street Improvement Program.

I’m mixed on this one — I see a problem, and I see a solution. And the current solutions aren’t working. (The internet also tells me that “The current funding level only allows us to reconstruct less than 2 miles of roads each year.”)

But I am pained every time I buy a sandwich and see the tax rates as high as they are, and to be honest, years of reading Ramos in the Reader makes me even more wary of taxation in a town that seems to print money for Spirit Mountain but not to the roads that lead up to it.

Anyone offer some help on this one?

2 Comments

Northern_Owlbear

about 1 year ago

It's a hard thing whenever a tax proposal is brought forward but I for one see this as a major step in the right direction. If passed in November, then allowed for by the State Legislature, this increase (which amounts to a nickel on a $10 sandwich by the way) would be dedicated funding toward road improvement and repair. There has been (still is...) a lot of talk about finding funding elsewhere in the city budget or reallocating funds from other sources neither of which could make up the millions of dollars expected from this proposal. Statements like those also forget or ignore that large portions of city funding come in the form of specific grants that must go to specific types of projects or fund those necessary pieces such as fire/police/inspectors/etc. And I'll end on this because it needs to be said, Duluth had a good (for itself and ultimately illegal) deal going for many years with the easy money coming from Fond-du-Luth which was used for roads and now we, as a city, need to come to terms with the reality of underfunded roads.

Sam

about 1 year ago

With the casino profit-sharing agreement being declared null and void (despite the city living up to its side of the bargain) there aren't many other options to replace the loss of money for streets. The tax is the best way forward unless we all want to live on Mars.

Duluth News Tribune: Duluth's contract with casino called illegal

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