Thumbs Up/Down

Sales tax for roads bound to return

THUMBS DOWN: The Brown County Commissioners voted down a local option sales tax that would have helped fund county road projects this week. We can understand the reluctance of three of the commissioners to avoid a tax increase, but the problem doesn’t seem likely to go away, so the local sales tax option is likely to return for consideration.

Transportation funding, from the federal government through the state and the local units of government, is not keeping up with repair needs. This past week the House passed a $10.8 billion bill to keep the federal Highway Trust Fund from going broke, and the Senate is considering similar legislation. Minnesota’s transportation funds have been running well short of the actual road repair and replacement needs for years. Brown County’s Highway Engineer has reported that the county is falling behind on its repairs, and that a $10 wheelage tax approved last year won’t solve the problem. The local option sales tax would have provided $1.5 million a year for the county’s road fund.

Keeping county roads in good repair is the responsibility of county government. Unless they come up with a better option, we think the commissioners may need to reconsider the sales tax option in the future.

Chickens on the way

THUMBS UP: People in New Ulm will soon be able to go out to the backyard for some fresh eggs. The New Ulm City Council approved the idea of people keeping a small number of chickens within city limits.

It may take a couple of months for the council holds the required ordinance hearings and waiting period for the ordinance to go into effect, but after that, chickens will be allowed in local back yards. There will be plenty of controls, like no roosters allowed, no slaughtering of chickens allowed, neighbor approval requirements and so on. The city will be keeping an eye out for problems related to noise and smell as well.

It will be an interesting experiment for the city.

Blast is here

THUMBS UP: The Bavarian Blast has opened, and we again encourage New Ulm residents to take advantage of the opportunity to support their local festival.

It is a weekend of music, dancing and a variety of special contests and events.

The weather even seems to be cooperating for the festival this year.

Volunteers have been working hard all year to pull this together, and we hope people will give them the reward they are looking for -?a happy, crowded festival.

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