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Visioning update: Urban, rural taxing districts studied

The Pequot Lakes City Council continues to study the differential in the city’s urban and rural taxing districts, which was identified earlier this year in a visioning session where the council pinpointed key issues and projects.

The Economic Development Committee (EDC) received council approval Tuesday, April 2, to spend $1,500 to hire Springsted to complete an analysis and study of the two taxing districts with the concept of combining them. The EDC first wants to determine the impact of combining the tax districts on properties.

“You’ve got a difficult situation here, especially when talking about property taxes. It’s a very emotional issue,” Mark Jurchen, EDC chair, told the council.

“Everyone at the table has a conflict of interest,” he said of city council and EDC members, since they live or work in one of the two taxing districts.

The two districts were created when the city and Sibley Township merged in 2002. The urban tax rate is double that of the rural tax rate. It’s unknown why the rural tax rate didn’t eventually become equal to the urban rate.

Jurchen said the rural taxing district has 63 percent of city’s valuation and pays 40 percent of taxes.

Commercial properties in the former township and the city no longer have such a tax differential.

Other visioning goals

Sibley Lake Park: The Park Commission will walk through the park at 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, to generate ideas for park improvements. The commission and city staff will work toward developing rules and guidelines for the park as well.

The Park Commission has received a few surveys from residents with suggestions to make the park more user friendly. A survey is online on the city’s website at

Mayo Lake Park Preserve: The Park Commission and city staff will work toward developing rules and guidelines for this new park.

Branding/marketing: Mayor Nancy Adams is working with the chamber to research the idea of placing banners throughout the city. Funding for banners is needed.

County Road 11 gateway: The Planning Commission started discussion on County Road 11 as a gateway into Pequot Lakes when Highway 371 expands to four lanes east of downtown.

Discussion points have included use of roundabouts, a bike and snowmobile trail from Breezy Point into Pequot Lakes, parking, sidewalks and crosswalks, lighting and landscaping, according to Planning Commission meeting minutes.

Capital improvements plan: Staff is working with all departments to begin listing capital improvements through the budgeting process.

Sewer ponds/sanitation: The Public Works Department and city engineer are discussing options with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.