Fundraising, donations to ease pool tax burden

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With the vote on the opt-out to fund the new aquatics center in two weeks, city officials and members of the Mobridge Swimming Pool Committee have heard concerns from residents about how the opt out will impact their taxes.

Concerns of another tax increase have been voiced by Mobridge residents at a number of venues.

The maximum amount the city could ask for in the opt out would be $200,000 per year over the next the 20 years. According to Toby Morris, of Northland Securities, the maximum amount that can be added to taxes in Mobridge to fund the project is $118 per $100,000 home.(see chart below.) That includes the interest on the loan.

The council had the choice to refer the issue to a vote or to approve the opt out and let it go to a petition to force a vote. They chose to take the funding option to a vote of the people. That means with donations and pledges from the city and others, the payments each year could change, thus change on property owners’ tax bills.

According to Mobridge Finance Officer Heather Beck, there is currently $345,435 in the Swimming Pool fund. That does not include $69,446 in pledges. Those pledges can range from a one-year to a 10-year pledge. So far, through pledges $17,450 will be applied to the loan payment for the first three years, reducing the tax burden by that much through pledges alone. That does not include fundraising monies.

“Moving forward with the opt out at this time gives our community the best chance of having a new facility sooner than later,” explained Mobridge Mayor Jamie Dietterle. “The money generated by the opt out will help secure the funding, making it possible to begin construction on a new facility, but the efforts of the city council and pool committee to fund raise will continue to help ease the burden on the tax payers.”

Dietterle said the pool committee and other volunteers, including area children, are working to continually raise funding for the entire 20 years.

“We have a goal of raising one million dollars and that will help reduce the levy and keep the taxes down,” he said. “Fundraisers are already set for the next few months and pledges continue to come in.”

Dietterle said this project has been discussed for more than 10 years now and putting the opt out to a public vote is the right thing to do, as it gives the community the chance to ultimately make this decision.

“If the project continues to be put off, the expense of building one gets higher each year,” he said. “We have a strong and motivated city council and an outstanding pool committee that share the same vision and passion for moving this project forward.”

The initial plans were for a more than $4 million project that included a two slides and a lazy river feature. Those plans were long ago pared down to the single slide version that has been presented to the public on a number of occasions.

“There have been speculations that we have a hidden agenda and are providing false information to the public, but I can assure our citizens that our children and the future of our community are the top priority that drive us each and every day,” said Dietterle.

– Katie Zerr –

 

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