ST. CLOUD -- St. Cloud residents may be asked to approve a couple of ballot questions during the November election, with the goal of making improvements to some of the city's amenities.

The city is considering asking voters to approve raising the lodging tax by up to one percent. The lodging tax was first imposed in 1979 at three-percent. In 1987 it was increased to five percent. It has not been raised since then.

Also, the food and beverage tax has been at one-percent since it was first imposed in 1987. The ballot question would ask residents to increase it by up to one-half percent.

The city projects the increases would add about $325,000 a year from the lodging tax, and about $760,000 a year from the food and beverage tax.

Municipal Athletic Complex, photo by's Alex Svejkovsky

Money collected from the two taxes can be spent on the River's Edge Convention Center, the Paramount Theater, and the Municipal Athletic Complex. The increased rates would be used to make improvements to those facilities. Specifically, the city would like to spend nearly $22 million at the MAC including remodeling and improving the 1971-era Dick Putz Field, including installing artificial turf. Upgrades to Joe Faber Field, including artificial turf. And adding a major addition to the ice arena including locker rooms, training facilities, storage, administration, and concession space.

The city would also go after additional funding sources like state bonding money and facility naming rights.

The St. Cloud City Council will hold a public hearing on the ballot questions during their August 20th meeting.

If voters approve the two ballot questions in November, the city would then need legislative approval during the next legislative session.

Some improvements to the MAC could come as soon as next year, but the major construction would take place in 2020.

Taxes for Minnesota's Regional Cities:
Lodging Tax:
Bloomington 7%
Duluth 5.5%
St. Cloud 5%
Rochester 4%

Food & Beverage Tax:
St. Cloud 1%

Sales Tax:
Duluth 1%
Rochester .75%
St. Cloud Region .5%
Bloomington 0%