Benton County Passes Transportation Tax

Benton County Passes Transportation Tax Click to Enlarge Photo: KNSI News

(KNSI) - Benton County has approved a countywide sales tax for transportation.

The county board voted for the half-cent sales tax on Tuesday. It will start to be collected on October 1st. The tax will cost a person 50-cents for every $100 they spend.

Benton County Commissioner Allen "Jake" Bauerly was a guest of KNSI's Dan "The Ox" Ochsner and says they had no choice.

"No one likes new taxes, but we needed to do this for our roads. We have 225 miles of local roads that we have to find a way to pay for and the only way to do that are property taxes, wheelage taxes or sales tax."

Bauerly says he thinks the sales tax is a better option than increasing property taxes.

"I actually think it's a fairer tax. It's a consumption tax and you don't pay sales tax on necessities like clothing and food you buy at the store."

The county will take in about $1.9 million a year for the next 18 years.

Benton County plans to collect about $35 million for 36 road and bridge projects throughout the county.

The projects include full reconstruction and reclamation projects, overlays of existing pavement, limited paving of certain gravel roads and bridge repairs.

A study done with the University of Minnesota Extension shows that one-third of sales tax dollars in the county are generated by non-residents.

In 2017, a quarter-percent sales tax increase started to be collected in Stearns County to bring in about $23 million over five years for roadwork and bridge replacement.

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