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home : news : news
December 18, 2017

11/24/2017 4:58:00 PM
Lindstrom has more questions on 3 percent lodging tax, action tabled

The America’s Best Communities contest gave legs to an economic revitalization plan developed by the group competing in the national competition-- except for the proposed lodging tax, which is still in-limbo.

The lodging tax in the ABC contest outline was going to be collected by the city where each lodging business is located,  at three percent.  It would provide money to pay a Tourism Bureau director and promote the ABC four-city area’s hospitality operations.

Lindstrom elected leaders delayed imposing the tax, which was on their agenda last week, instead seeking more information.  (Center City council has rejected the tax ordinance.  Shafer has it on the council agenda Tuesday this week.  Taylors Falls council adopted it.)

Chisago Lakes Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Wendy Redland told the Lindstrom City Council tax revenue will market the area within the original ABC competition, generally the Hwy 8 Chisago Lakes stretch to Taylors Falls.  The money goes under the control of “The Tourism Bureau” which has yet to be formed. This agency would be  housed in the chamber headquarters, but be incorporated as a stand alone non-profit.

Lindstrom Council member David Waldoch wondered how long-term clientele at “lodging” businesses will be treated,  as the sample ordinance spells out stays allowed to be taxed must be less than 30 days in duration. Motels affected locally contain many patrons taking rooms for several weeks while working on regional road projects, or awaiting their home being built, or visiting area healthcare facilities, etc.  He commented that determining which are taxed and which are not,  could result in “burdensome paperwork” mandates.

Waldoch felt enforcement and administration would prove very complicated.  He also lacked comfort with the  conceptual “Tourism Bureau” and if it will issue reports and be subjected to audits and other accountability measures.

Mayor Keith Carlson suggested that in order to create a level playing field the tax must apply to all lodging in Chisago County.

Redland responded it is her understanding county commissioners support the tax but just haven’t acted on it.

The discussion ended with the city attorney advising the council that a public hearing is necessary prior to Lindstrom adopting something like this anyway.  No action was taken setting a hearing date.

Additionally:
Direction was given to city staff they can continue working out details for a commercial marina/boat rental on city-owned property at Beach Park.
 
Shawn Dunne operates “Captain Shawn’s Boat Rental” currently on lakeshore he leases from Dinnerbel operators.  The restaurant sale is pending, with closing set for 2018, as state natural resources officials review the density and impacts of a proposed housing project on the Dinnerbel site.  

In the meantime, Dunne is seeking a new marina location.  He recently got approval from Center City Council to use a city lot on South Center Lake;  but at the regular November city council meeting the city council was told that plan has been shelved.

Lindstrom Council members noted pros and cons to Dunne’s application for using a piece of Beach Park.  Parking can be tough already,  but Dunne said he needs only three-to four spots.  He will operate out of a small kiosk building.  The DNR hasn’t approved an exact number of slips just yet so he had no details regarding dock configuration.  

Council, however, liked the idea of having a responsible individual who,  daily anyway, could watch Beach Park for nuisance behavior, etc.

The council consensus was for staff to proceed on drafting a contract and council will further review this over the winter.

Dunne, a retired firefighter, said he started to build a good kayak, fishing boat and pontoon business in the two seasons he’s been at the Dinnerbel. An auxiliary business offering the jetpack experience has moved on, he said.      Beach Park and “Captain Shawn’s” current site are only a few hundred feet apart.

Only a short distance away from Beach Park, on the north side of the channel between North and South Lindstrom Lakes, the Enchanted Cove townhome plat was finalized unanimously by council.

The final plat now includes legally defined “outlots” where four water-related accessory structures,  a maximum of 250 square feet each,  will be allowed for each of the future townhouse owners.  Two docks are allowed North Lindstrom Lake.

A request from a Home Owners’ Association for the city to takeover a private road was discussed for about an hour, with no action.  The dead end road is parallel to Olinda Trail, across from the golf course and has six lots fronting Olinda, with five homes.   There is not unanimous support among HOA members, however,  for doing the necessary turnback improvements,  that the city demands before accepting the street.  The HOA representative wanted a little more city input in order to convince the holdouts.

Council explained the city can not spend money on detailed engineering design for a private street, and expenses for the actual work must be borne by the HOA, which the city can look into assessing and the debt can be paid off lot-by-lot.  There was also no information presented on impact of street improvement on sewer and water service.  With still too many questions remaining,  staff was advised to await an HOA response and monitor the request seeking the street turnback.

Council withheld about $8,000 from the retained amount in a final payment for the Morningside Court contractor.  There is a dispute concerning a survey marker that was dislocated during road construction and not replaced. The resident said he recently paid for a survey and the marker is new, and he is not going to be responsible for its being displaced.  

City Attorney Soren Mattick said hopefully the retainage will serve as leverage to get the involved parties to resolve this.

A city-owned lot, leftover from Highway 8 and frontage road re-alignments near Security Bank and Lehigh, is desired by the dental practice for additional parking space.  The city council told the staff to negotiate selling the half-acre or so site.  Any agreement would be conditioned on stormwater improvements being allowed as well, on the parcel, because there’s been complaints about water pooling, etc on the new frontage road.

In upcoming meeting dates-- council welcomes the public to attend a special council meeting/work session November 27 at city hall. Items include reviewing a Lakes Area Police contract which comes up for renewal in 2018 with Chisago City,  and informal discussion about city personnel and budget questions.

The popular tree lighting event is Saturday, December 2 from 4:30 to 6:30 at the park near the veterans memorial and chamber of commerce building.



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