Blue Earth council OKs new sales tax

BLUE EARTH – First the voters of Blue Earth approved it, then the Minnesota State Legislature did, and finally, the Blue Earth City Council made it official Monday.

The council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution authorizing the implementation of the city’s new half-cent sales tax.

The City Council had put the question to the voters last fall during the general election. It passed, 798-517.

From there the question went to the Legislature, which gave its OK during the recent special session.

Now, with the council’s decision, the tax will go into effect after a new city ordinance, which will officially enact the law, is passed by the council next month, and the Minnesota Department of Revenue is able to begin to collect the tax. That date will be later this year, in the fall, city administrator Tim Ibisch said.

In other business Monday, the council:

o Discussed two property transfers. The first was the acquisition of an empty lot on the corner of Fifth and Main Street, which was given to the city by Adams Ag and will become the site of a proposed Veterans Memorial Park. The council also went into closed session to discuss a purchase agreement for the sale of a lot in the city’s Golden Spike Business Park.

o Agreed to the purchase of a new tractor at the Blue Earth Municipal Airport. The city’s share of the John Deere tractor is 5 percent of the cost, which comes to $8,495.

o Accepted the lowest of three bids for seal coating streets in the city. That bid was $59,645 from Pearson Brothers of Hanover.

o Authorized a payment on the 13th and Moore Street project, and called for a final assessment hearing on the street and utility reconstruction project to be held July 15.

o Heard a report on purchasing and using a possible new software for conducting online employee reviews. The council decided to send the matter to the personnel committee for further review and testing.