1% Sales Tax Pro… Story by Charlie Harrison
The memorial field grandstands are falling down. The structure was built in 1946, so it has been serving the community for almost seventy years. In the past ten years however, the grandstands have failed numerous health and safety tests, with the score dropping every year. Now, the grandstands are set for demolition with no way to stop it. The only question now is what should replace them. A 1% sales tax increase has been voted on and approved by 60% of voters to fix memorial field. If the sales tax was not approved, the structure would be replaced with nothing but cold aluminum bleachers. The bulk of the money from the tax will be going towards the grandstands, but a lot of the money will also be going into fixing the field itself, including completely replacing the old drainage system and repairing the infrastructure. Any extra funding will go into the
other city parks such as Sandpoint ‘City Beach and Travis Park.
There are several exemptions to limit the tax on low income and vulnerable households. For instance, gas and diesel are exempt, along with prescriptions and many medical devices. Food stamps are also exempt, and out of state shipments. Utilities will also not be taxed. It is worth noting that the increase will raise Sandpoint’s sales tax to 7%. While it sounds like a lot, it is actually well below the national average of almost 10%. The tax cannot be used for anything but the parks, and can’t last for more than five years without voter approval.
The next Stadium will be designed to be very low maintenance and cheap to run. It is also designed to last for at least another fifty years (and probably longer). The reason people failed to produce the money before was because most of the money came from corporate sponsors, who had to back out for financial reasons. The old stadium was built in 1948 and it has seating capacity for 900 people. However, town population has tripled since then. The new stadium will have capacity for 1500 people. This means the grandstands will be less overcrowded during games and we will be able to sell more tickets. The same goes for the festival at Sandpoint, a major music festival in the pacific North West. The University of Idaho stated that festival has an estimated $2 million direct impact on our community.
The grandstands will be able to seat more people so the festival will be able to sell more tickets. More tickets will bring more out of town and out of state money into Sandpoint for festival season. Instead of overbooking our field, leading to overcrowded conditions, which we have done in the past, we can provide Sandpoint residents and out of towners alike with a larger, more comfortable stadium for everybody to use. Memorial field brings economic activity into Sandpoint during games such as baseball, football, soccer, and other community sports events. It brings in tourist money for our massive festival that routinely sells out. I think it’s about time we rebuilt it to make sure future generations get to use it too.