WILLMAR - The half of a percent sales tax increase for the city of Willmar, known as the Invest in Wilmar local option sales tax, was approved by voters on Tuesday by a wide margin.

The yes votes numbered 4,141 or 61.06 percent. Those against cast 2,641 votes, finishing with 38.94 percent, according to unofficial results.

The next step for the sales tax is the state Legislature, which must also approve the measure before it is implemented. If approved, it will raise the total sales tax in Willmar to 7.875 percent. A $20 excise tax on all retail sales of vehicles in the city will also be put into place.

The sales tax is estimated to raise approximately $30 million in about 13 years. The funds will be used for six community projects including $10 million for a recreation and events center, $6 million for recreation fields for multiple sports and $7 million for stormwater improvements. Also included in the sales tax are improvements at Robbins Island and Swansson Field Complex along with a major project at the Willmar Community Center.