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Chamber of Commerce backs sales tax before Willmar voters

WILLMAR -- The board of directors of the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce voted Oct. 25 to support the local option sales tax being proposed to Willmar voters.

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WILLMAR - The board of directors of the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce voted Oct. 25 to support the local option sales tax being proposed to Willmar voters.

The half of a percent sales tax on all eligible purchases within the city of Willmar would raise an estimated $10 million for projects at Robbins Island, the Swansson Field Complex and the Willmar Civic Center.

"Successful recruitment of employees is key to the ongoing success of our business community. These projects enhance the attractiveness of the Willmar area for its current and future workforce," Chamber President Ken Warner said in an email to chamber members. The board also felt the projects would leave the Willmar Lakes Area better off than it is now.

Warner said the board's decision was made by the directors along with information members provided through a survey. Only 13.23 percent of the Chamber's members returned the survey, though votes in favor of the local option sales tax was nearly 2 to 1.

"The survey results and feedback were given weight in the board decision out of respect for those members who did complete and return the survey," Warner said.

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Warner said the board understood that some members and individuals would not agree with the Chamber's decision.

"Making this decision involved thorough discussion and debate and was not taken lightly," Warner said.

The voters of Willmar will decide whether the sales tax moves forward.

"All Chamber members are strongly encouraged to exercise their right to vote and cast their ballot on Nov. 8," Warner said.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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