A $2 million property tax referendum will be proposed Monday to help maintain, operate and improve existing parks.
The Trust for Public Land is recommending a Nov. 3 vote on the proposal following feasibility research and a public opinion survey of Rochester voters.
“Voters are generally willing to pay $20 to $30 a year in additional taxes for parks and conservation,” Will Abberger, the trust’s vice president and director of finance, told the City Council in June.
The proposed $2 million referendum would spur an additional $33 property tax increase for a $200,000 home in Rochester. A $150,000 home would see $25 added to its annual property tax bill.
When it comes to commercial property taxes, the proposed measure would add $34 in annual taxes to a $200,000 property and $84 to a $500,000 property.
According to the proposed ballot language, the measure would “provide a dedicated source of funding to protect water quality and natural areas; conserve trees and wooded areas that help to protect air quality; improve access to existing parks and recreational facilities for kids and people with disabilities; improve park safety; and maintain, operate, and improve existing parks.”
The city’s 2016 Parks and Recreation System Plan identified more than $80 million in potential improvements, based on increased demand and proposed upgrades. This year, the city’s parks have seen increased activity amid the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdown of other recreational venues.
During the council’s June 22 study session, council members cited concerns about the potential timing of the proposed vote, but also voiced support for giving residents an option to decide the parks.
“It would be good to have buy-in from the community,” said City Council President Randy Staver.
The council has until Aug. 21 to submit the proposed referendum to the state to be included on the Nov. 3 ballot.
The council meets at 3:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers of the city-county Government Center. The meeting will livestream at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas and be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188.
Meetings scheduled to be held during the week of Aug. 3 include:
- City Council, 3:30 p.m. Monday in the council chambers of the city-county Government Center, 151 4th St. SE. The meeting will livestream at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas and be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188.
- Airport Commission, 9 a.m. Tuesday. Video of the meeting will be posted online at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas following the meeting.
- Park Board, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Parks and Recreation Office of City Hall, 201 4th St. SE. Dial-in information for listening to the meeting live can be requested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Video will be posted online following the meeting.
- Administrative Committee, 8 a.m. Tuesday in the board chambers of the government center. The meeting will be livestreamed at http://olmstedcountymn.iqm2.com.
- Physical Development Committee, 8 a.m. Tuesday in Conference Room 2 of the government center. A recording of the meeting will be posted.
- Board of County Commissioners, 9 a.m. Tuesday in the board chambers of the government center. The meeting will be livestreamed.
- Housing and Redevelopment Authority administrative committee, 9 a.m. Wednesday in the board chambers of the government center. The meeting will be livestreamed.
- Health, Housing and Human Services Committee, 10 a.m. Wednesday in the board chambers of the government center. The meeting will be livestreamed.
- Planning Advisory Commission, 7 p.m. Thursday in board chambers of the government center. The meeting will be livestreamed at http://olmstedcountymn.iqm2.com.
Rochester Public Schools
- School Board, 4 p.m. Tuesday in the boardroom of the Edison Building, 615 7th St. SW. Meeting will livestream at YouTube.com/ISD535.