Sales Tax Extension Vote on November 7

Sales Tax Extension Vote on November 7

City of Marshall to Ask Voters November 7, 2023 For Sales Tax Extension to Fund Aquatic Center Construction

Special legislation has been approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor this week that will allow the City of Marshall to place a referendum question on the November 7, 2023, ballot asking voters to consider approval of extending the one-half percent sales tax to be used for construction of a new aquatic center. The sales tax, if approved, will provide $18.3 million in funds for the project. A half-percent sales tax would equal 50 cents for every $100 dollars spent on sales taxable items. The city is requesting a sales tax extension - it does not raise taxes. The City Council will consider approving at their next meeting the special law by resolution.

The approved legislation would not have occurred without key support from area legislators, Senator Gary Dahms, Senator Bill Weber and Representative Chris Swedzinski.

The City of Marshall is currently in the process of designing a new aquatic facility with Stockwell Engineering. With the main pool constructed in 1937, the current aquatic center has many deficiencies. The structures of both the lap/general use-pool and diving pool have significant cracking and structural deterioration at the gutter joint, internal expansion joints, and wall to floor joints. City staff has documented that the lap/general-use pool and diving pool are currently losing water due to leaks at a rate of 12,000 to 15,000 gallons per day.

The proposed newly constructed aquatic facility will be approximately 20,000 square feet and include amenities such as an 8-lane lap pool, zero depth activity pool, splash pad and fully updated and accessible bath house.

Sales tax is a tax on certain purchases in Marshall, collected from both residents and non-residents.  Unlike a property tax-based plan, the one-half percent sales tax ensures that everyone who enjoys the City’s amenities and services shares in the cost to upgrade them. It is estimated that if the city relied on the general property tax, the property tax levy would have to increase 18-20% to cover the cost of the new aquatic center.

In order to determine community opinions beyond those of vocal minorities/interest groups, the city undertook a professionally conducted, random-sample survey of residents (the “community survey”) in order to better gauge public interest. The city in October of 2021 conducted a community survey and when respondents were asked an open-ended question to identify additional recreation amenities and programs that the city could offer, the most common responses were related to swimming pools and water parks. The former topic covered responses related specifically to swimming pools and swimming lessons, while the “water park” topic included references to things like splash pads, water slides, and other water features outside of swimming pools. A key part of the community survey was garnering public input regarding different funding options the City of Marshall is exploring to help pay for current or new amenities. The community’s reaction to an extension of the current sales tax was generally good, with a 74% positive response rate.

Mayor Bob Byrnes was especially grateful to our legislators for their support and noted that Marshall is “an active and growing community that values parks and recreation as important to improving quality of life. The new aquatic center will be a destination for Marshall and the region.”

Amanda Schwartz, a community resident who is a part of a citizen-led group that supports the construction of a new aquatic center stated, “Marshall is a great place to raise a family, we take pride in our community. The opportunity to build a new and exciting aquatic center will create shared experiences and strengthen our families while having fun together.”

For any organization, group or neighborhood that would like to know more about the project, can call Marshall Community Services at 507-537-6767 to schedule a presentation.