Mandan News

Mandan seeking input

The Mandan Sales Tax Committee is responding to community requests for capital improvement projects by exploring the possibility of an initiative funded largely with a potential bump in sales tax. Mandan’s local sales tax is currently 1%, increasing to 1.5% when a half-cent increase becomes effective in October for a joint jail approved by voters in Burleigh and Morton counties. Committee members are talking about a possible increase, possibly a half-cent on the dollar, which would put the local sales tax at 2.0%.

The sales tax committee is seeking public input on the scope of such an initiative, a variety of project options and location preferences. The first method of evaluating reactions to ideas will be through a focus group scheduled to gather Wednesday, Aug. 13, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the Mandan Middle School.

Members of the public are welcome to attend and will have an opportunity to provide input through a print questionnaire. An online survey will also be posted with a public announcement issued following the informational presentation.

The focus group will consist of approximately 30 people representing a cross-section of the community, including citizens, business representatives and recreational and sports organization members. The focus group will be asked a series of questions in an interactive setting using handheld electronic devices. Results of each question, or informal poll, will be displayed for further discussion.

“The more public input we receive, the better decisions our elected officials can make. This is just one of the first steps to gauge public opinion,” Jim Neubauer, City Administrator, said.
Members of the Mandan Sales Tax Committee, as appointed by the respective entities, are Mandan Park Board President Jason Arenz, Mandan Mayor Arlyn Van Beek and Mandan School District Vice-President Sheldon Wolf.

In accordance with state law, a school district cannot receive funding through sales and use taxes. The school district was asked to be part of the sales tax committee to explore possibilities for rent of new or improved facilities if constructed by the park district.

Watch the websites of the Mandan Park District, www.mandanparks.com, and the City of Mandan, www.cityofmandan.com, for a link to an online survey following the Aug. 13 focus group gathering.

Committee members will evaluate initial input to gauge potential public support for a capital improvement project initiative and possible components. Additional public information meetings would be held and official City Commission action would be needed before any initiative would go to a formal election ballot for consideration by all voters.