Duluth Unveils Street Repair Plan
Mayor's Proposal Calls for a .5% Sales Tax Increase
DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth streets are a problem for virtually every driver. However Mayor Emily Larson thinks she has a solution.
“I am announcing a referendum for voters this fall, for a 0.5% sales tax dedicated entirely to fund our Streets Improvement Program,” said Mayor Larson, while unveiling her new plan Wednesday.
According to Mayor Larson the sales tax increase will generate more than $7 million dollars a year specifically for street repair. She calls her plan “Paving the Way for Better Streets”.
“Its straight–forward and it’s simple,” said Larson. “It’s our idea to establish this Duluth transportation sales tax as a solution that we can call our own.”
Currently, Duluth has annual budget of about a $1.5 million dollars for street repair. That’s roughly enough to fix two miles of the city’s more than 450 miles of roads a year. Mayor Larson says investing in streets will save the city money.
“According to the League of Minnesota Cities, for every one dollar spent on maintenance a road authority saves seven dollars in repair costs,” said Larson.
Several city leaders showed their support for the Mayor including City Council President Joel Sipress, a passionate proponent of fixing streets.
“The longer we wait, the more it’s going to cost the city, the taxpayers and our residents,” said Sipress. “And the longer we wait, the more it’s going to cost all of us in wear and tear and repairs on our cars.”
The city scheduled three public meetings for residents to weigh in on the referendum. Those meetings will be held Wed. Aug. 23rd at the Harrison Community Center; Wed. Sep. 20th at the Morgan park Community Center; and Thu. Oct. 26th at the Duluth Heights Community Center. All meetings are scheduled from 5:30-7:00 p.m.
The city also set up a website for residents to learn more about the plan.