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TH council asks for sales tax increase

The Two Harbors City Council voted to move forward with a proposed sales tax increase at a special meeting Monday night.

The council's action will put the question of whether to impose a 0.5 percent tax increase on the ballot this fall. The revenues would help pay for water and sewer updates in the city.

If the voters say yes to the increase, the Minnesota State Legislature has to approve it, too. It could go into effect August 2015 at the earliest. The councilors at the meeting agreed they have a long road ahead of them to educate voters and legislators on why the money is needed.

"There's much more that we have to do," Councilor Robin Glaser said.

Councilors Seth MacDonald, George Scheidt and Mayor Randy Bolen were absent.

The councilors also discussed the trail project that would connect the west and east neighborhoods of Two Harbors with a footpath off of County Road 26 and behind Super One and Shopko. The trail is just a couple blocks long but will cost more than a half-million dollars because it cuts through wetlands and an underpass must be built to cross a portion of CN railroad.

Contractors must wait until the railroad gives them permission to work on the trail, which hasn't happened yet. Construction over wetlands is subject to environmental review and the purchase of wetland credits to offset destruction, and Patty Nordean, the administrative secretary, said the wetland work hasn't been approved by the Army Corps of Engineers yet.

With funding in place, councilor Jerry Norberg said he hopes the trail can still get done this year.

Finally, the councilors touched on a potential shower building at the new Burlington Bay Campground in Two Harbors. They hope to get some preliminary sketches done and look at what the project might cost.

More discussion will happen at the next meeting on Aug. 25, Norberg said.

LaReesa Sandretsky
LaReesa Sandretsky is a Two Harbors High School graduate and Duluth native who began working at the News-Chronicle in 2012 as a reporter. She took over as editor in 2014. She covers County Board, including the Lake County broadband project.
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