More towns may be included in Rochester's sales tax fund - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

More towns may be included in Rochester's sales tax fund

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KTTC) --  A new version of the state's tax laws might order Rochester to share funds collected from the city's extended sales tax to four or more cities.  In November, Rochester voters approved extending the City's half-cent sales tax. 

"Anything would be greatly appreciated," said Randy Stephenson, mayor of Dexter.  "We do have a lot of citizens of Dexter that work and travel to Rochester daily -- do their shopping, buying their groceries while they're in town."

It's that economic support to Rochester, that has other communities like Dexter and Wanamingo vying to be included in a list of 17 other cities that are eligible for $5 million of Rochester sales tax dollars.  According to the bill that's making its way through the Senate, the cities on that list must have had a 2010 population of at least 1,000 and a city boundary within 25 miles of the center of Rochester.

"Once we found what that criteria was we found that we fit that criteria," said Ryan Holmes, mayor of Wanamingo.  "We're just asking that we not be forgotten, that we actually be included in that group of cities."

The new version of the house bill requires the Rochester City Council to hold a public hearing and pass a resolution by Sept. 1.  Initially, the language of the bill was set to include cities that have either an economic development or a housing and redevelopment authority.
But even with the money going to cities for local improvements, some feel there may not be much to improve.

"I just don't see it being that much of a change," said Mike Mayer, a lifetime resident of Mazeppa.  "Maybe other towns like your Stewartvilles and Kassons would be better off, but us out here -- there's really hardly anything left anymore."

For now, Mazeppa, Racine, Grand Meadow, Dexter, Altura and Wanamingo will have to see whether they'll be one of those cities to benefit from Rochester's growth.

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