Renville County Board eyes sales tax funds for County Road 11 rebuild

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— The Renville County Board of Commissioners will be proposing that the county adopt a local options sales tax to rebuild a nine-mile segment of a road that is an important west-to-east traffic artery in the central portion of the county.

In discussions on July 5, commissioners informally indicated that they favored designating County Road 11 — from its intersection with County Road 6 north of Renville to U.S. Highway 71 north of Olivia — as the intended project for local option sales tax revenues.

The commissioners indicated that they will act at their July 12 meeting to set a public hearing for Aug. 9 on a proposal to adopt a half-cent local option sales tax. If the tax is adopted, the county must designate a specific project for the revenues it would generate, according to Jeff Marlowe, public works director.

Marlowe proposed either the nine-mile segment of County Road 11 or a portion of County Road 16 from its intersection with U.S. Highway 212 to County Road 11 as options.

The work on County Road 11 calls for a complete rebuild for the nine-mile length at an estimated cost of $14.4 million. The work on County Road 16 calls for a new overlay and is slated in the county's five-year road project for 2027.

The commissioners agreed that the County Road 11 project would benefit most if a sales tax option is approved. The County Road 16 project is potentially a better prospect for obtaining federal funds to assist with its costs, they noted.

A local option sales tax is estimated to generate possibly as much as $400,000 per year for the county. Those revenues would likely be pledged toward a bond that would need to be awarded to finance the project.

Commissioner David Hamre said he would prefer to see the County Road 11 project expanded to include more miles to the west of County Road 6.

Board Chair Randy Kramer said he favored keeping the project as proposed in the interest of being fair to the public and a future board.

By offering this specified project, the public knows that the local option sales tax will end when the project is funded. There is a certain end date at which time a future board and public can weigh in on whether or not to continue this funding mechanism for road projects.