Devils Lake Park Board looking to enhance community recreation with sales tax vote this June

Terry Wallace
Special to Devils Lake Daily Journal

DEVILS LAKE - A question will be on the voting ballot in Devils Lake this June asking for a quarter of one percent increase in sales tax that will be distributed to the Devils Lake Park Board for infrastructure projects. The proposed increase will be on retail, storage, use or consumption of personal property items, and sales of alcohol beverages within the city.

Devils Lake city sales tax is currently at 7.25 percent, which is on the lower end of sales tax in the state for cities a similar size of Devils Lake. The sales tax increase would cost a person $7.50 a year if they would make taxable purchases of $3,000 and $25 a year if they would make taxable purchases of $10,000. Property taxes would not increase with this sale tax initiative.

City Sales Tax Rate

  • Devils Lake 7.25%
  • Grafton 7.75%
  • Jamestown 7.5%
  • Valley City 7.5%

Devils Lake is a tourist town drawing many people to visit our city from all over the state and country. Approximately 7,000 people live in the City of Devils Lake but tourism brings in approximately 100,000 people annually and studies have shown that more than 50% of city sales tax collected comes from purchases made by non-residents.

Sales tax isn’t charged on all purchases in North Dakota, meaning you won’t see the increase on purchases such as your groceries, vehicle purchases, gas, or prescription medicine. The increase will be on sales of retail, storage, use or consumption of personal property, and sales of alcohol beverages within the city.

With the increase in sales tax, the Devils Lake Park Board will use the funds to enhance community infrastructure in Devils Lake. The emphasis would be indoor recreation space such as an indoor playground, indoor bubble with turf and track for walking, senior activity space, family entertainment center, splash park, and birthday/party activity space, indoor pickle ball, movies and bowling.

“We are looking to enrich the lives of our residents and find a way to bring all age groups of our community together,” said Terry Wallace the Devils Lake Park Board Director. “Imagine senior community members being able to watch youth residents play soccer on an indoor turf while walking a track in the middle of winter in Devils Lake, this is the type of project we can do with the city sales tax increase. We also have the possibility of using a large existing building in the city to create a family activity center that can be used by all ages including seniors that can be used for walking, birthday parties, group events and many other possibilities.”

Ramsey County published results from a youth survey they completed earlier this year and the results from respondents ages 13-18 overwhelmingly expressed their concern that there is nothing to do in Ramsey County.

“We need things for youth to do. There is no movie theatre, bowling alley and no Rec Center” answered one local youth while completing the Ramsey County survey. Of the 166 responses over 90% of the responses from youth stated that there is nothing for kids to do in our community in the winter months.

With the increased funding, the Devils Lake Park Board would put in a plan to build a healthier and more active community with more things for our community to do. The plan would involve a community committee that would be formed with members from the park district, city, school district, and other potential users and stakeholders.

“We want to take a different approach inviting potential user groups and community partners to come forward to present ideas and resources in which a community committee can determine the sources and uses for the funds and needs to each project,” adds Park Board president Kale Stromme.

Devils Lake is a beautiful community with a great school district and the Devils Lake Park Board is hoping to expand their offerings with increased infrastructure for all ages groups currently living, visiting, or looking to relocate here by voting on an increased city sales tax this June.