Sartell Restaurant Tax Well Intentioned But Poorly Timed [OPINION]
Sartell voters will head to the polls on February 8th to decide whether or not to approve a 1.5% 'food and beverage' tax at the city's restaurants. The city is hoping to use the funds raised by the taxes, projected to be over $300,000 a year, toward operational costs for the city of Sartell's recreational facilities.
The restaurant industry was decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Family owned, non-franchise restaurants (as a majority of them in Sartell are) were hit particularly hard without the financial backing of a giant corporation during a lean 2020 and 2021. Many are still struggling with staffing, supply chain issues and a seemingly endless increase in the cost of goods.
While it is true that the 1.5% seems insignificant on its surface- after all, it's 'only' $1.50 per $100 spent- the optics of asking for a tax increase during a time of rising costs for seemingly everything across the board is wildly inappropriate.
In times like these cities should be looking at cutting costs, like maybe not tearing out a local basketball court for $50,000, instead of asking people and businesses that are already spread very thin for even more of their dwindling expendable income.
The city is growing, the population is expanding and eventually more money will need to be raised to compensate for that growth. But timing is everything and the timing of this ask absolutely stinks.
Facebook users voiced their opinions on the proposed tax and a majority of them sound like they are not in favor of its approval at this time.
I worry where the money will be spent. The 1/2 cent dollars through 2038 are already spent. No pool, No library and No skate park....... all promised in planning the vote. $$Millions spent on 2 indoor ice arenas for the privileged. St. Cloud has 11 parks with outdoor skating for the public, this mayor and council demolished our warming house and rinks. The less fortunate families in Sartell have no voice and remain invisible.
Hey, let’s make it harder for restaurants to make it after Covid. Pretty soon you won’t be able to go out because the cost is just to high! I think these places have been kicked in the teeth enough.