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Sales tax to fund new $6.7 million DL police station passes

The new police station will sit right across the street from the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center. Submitted Photo1 / 2
The Detroit Lakes Police Department Staff has doubled in size and outgrown the old facility. Submitted Photo2 / 2

Voters passed a half-cent, local option sales tax on Tuesday night's midterm ballot to fund a new police station in Detroit Lakes.

With all three precincts reporting, the vote came in at 65.7 percent saying yes and 35.3 percent saying no or a ballot count of 2,544 for the tax and 1,329 opposed.

Mayor Matt Brenk says the tax funding won't be finalized until it's approved by the legislature in the upcoming session, though he suspects there won't be any issues there. He says the legislature has a track record for going along with what local government is able to propose and pass.

Once the funding has the green light, Brenk says the city will begin planning and bidding out the project sometime next spring, and the sales tax probably won't go into effect until the summer or fall of 2019.

"It will probably be into 2020 before we can start building," he said.

The new police station is estimated to cost $6.7 million, which will be funded by a sales tax imposed for about 10 years or until the money is raised.

Brenk says he believes the sales tax was one of the reasons the referendum for the new facility passed so easily, saying it seems more fair to impose a tax on everyone who visits the community rather than just taxing property owners. Saving $2 million in interest by acting on the project now also seemed like a no-brainer.

"I think people realized we need a new facility," he added.

The new building is set to go up in a city-owned lot across the street from the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center. It will house the department's staff, which has doubled in size and outgrown the current outdated facility at 106 Holmes Street.