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Letter: Don’t hold your breath on property tax reduction

I have a few comments in regard to the Bemidji Pioneer article titled “Council ponders taxing questions” published on June 10.

I shop as little as possible in Bemidji and one of the reasons is the sales tax that was first implemented for the Sanford Center. As a Beltrami County resident I did not get to vote on whether to build it; I would not have voted for it.

I avoid attending events at the Sanford Center but on one occasion I did attend, after I paid my entrance fee one of the ticket takers took a peek in my purse to make sure I was not bringing in contraband beverages or whatever. I do not pay to be treated like a potential criminal.

I do not come to Bemidji for the green spaces, and will not use a new development on the south shore.

Ron Eischens is quoted as saying that these taxes could add stability to city finances and have a potential to reduce property taxes.

Councilor Reed Olson said he would rather see a half-cent sales tax over a hospitality tax, and is quoted as saying “Regardless of where it would go, the fact is it would free up $2.2 million of our budget so whether it was earmarked for streets or the south shore or wherever, I am all for that in lieu of a 1 percent hospitality tax.”

The rest of the article goes on to discuss possible uses of the city budget that could then be used for the Sanford Center, Neilson-Reise Arena, south shore park and beach, additional fire station, $148,000 for three positions that would be created if the city opts to enact the second phase of Northern Township annexation.

If I were a city resident, I wouldn’t hold my breath on getting a property tax reduction. Once a tax is implemented there are not many cases that it ever “sunsets” and goes away. My best vote is to shop elsewhere.

Jan Geerdes