January Woodbury City Council Meeting
The Woodbury City Council meeting was held January 25, 2023. There were two items of interest discussed.
Destination Marketing Organization (DMO)
Background: At their November 30, 2022 meeting, the Council approved a lodging tax of 3% to be used to promote and market the City as a destination. That tax will be effective April 1, 2023. The DMO Business Plan presented to the Council on October 19, 2022 included the framework for the DMO which will manage the gross proceeds. Council directed city staff to create a Task Force to create a strategic plan and recommend the structure of the DMO.
At this meeting, the mission statement, membership and desired outcomes of the task force were discussed and approved. The task force will be chaired by Mayor Burt and membership includes 3 staff members and eight representatives of various affected/interested community organizations. It is expected that the work of the task force will be completed by September 29, 2023 and presented to the City Council Workshop on October 18, 2023.
Request of legislative authorization to hold sales tax referendum
Background: The 2023-2027 Capitol Improvement Plan includes plans for Public Safety Expansion, including acquisition of the County Service Center. Financing through debt issuance is planned. An opportunity exists to finance the debt using a local sales tax rather than the usual property tax approach. The enactment of a local sales tax requires special legislation as the first step. After that, the City would conduct a referendum during the next general election. In the 2020 general election, 21 city project proposals for "regionally significant" capital projects resulted in approval in 18 cases. Oakdale recently approved using sales tax for two proposals for a new Public Works Facility and Oakdale Police Department Facility.
At the meeting, the specifics of the proposal were discussed. There are a number of steps allowing public input before the Council would consider a referendum. However, the special legislation needs to be submitted by January 31, 2023 to be considered in this legislative year. The timeline to acquire the Service Center is an issue prompting consideration of the authorization now. The sales tax is estimated to be 0.50 percent and would run for 20 years or until a sum is raised to fund the project, whichever comes first. The resolution to solicit the legislative authorization was approved.