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A majority of area respondents don't support enacting a half-percent food and beverage sales tax in North Mankato, according to a Free Press online question.

Out of 268 total respondents, 180 voters — more than 67 percent — don't think North Mankato should start a food and beverage sales tax. Only 88 voters supported the potential tax.

Though lawmakers and Gov. Tim Walz have signed off on a potential food and beverage sales tax, the North Mankato City Council appears to no longer favor the approach to offset Caswell Park operating costs — for now.

Three out of five council members — Sandra Oachs, Billy Steiner and Jim Whitlock — oppose instituting the tax. Diane Norland and Mayor Mark Dehen support the tax.

City officials have pushed state lawmakers for a tax on food and beverage sales since 2017. The Legislature included the city's request for up to a 1% tax in this year's tax bill, which the city requested to mirror Mankato's existing food and beverage sales tax.

The tax could bring in about $35,000 to $55,000 a year for operating costs at Caswell Park. The park had an average operating deficit of about $60,000 over the past seven years.

The Free Press online question, sent out Friday, asked, "Should North Mankato enact a food and beverage sales tax?"

There were two options to answer, "yes" or "no."

Commenters were largely opposed to the tax, as they believe residents are taxed enough. Some said the tax may help as visitors to Caswell Park who eat at nearby restaurants and bars would also pay.

"Here is what needs to be considered: Those who do not live here, how do they support our local infrastructure?" Douglas Schaller wrote. "A food and drink tax is a means by which visitors contribute to the costs of our operations. I do think the operations should be self-funding meaning no property tax dollars should be spent on the things, so those who use the facilities need to pay for them. Those who don't will pay with the purchase of food and drinks."

Bob Jentges wrote, "It would not be good for the local family who wanted to go out for drinks and a meal occasionally. It would not be good for those in the restaurant business. But for those that insist there is no limit to taxation it is a consumption tax on non-essential things, so maybe it is the best of taxes — if their is such a thing."

Others believed the city didn't need to pass another tax onto residents and business owners.

"No! Enough with more taxes," David Mumme wrote. "Cut some bureaucracy. Live within your means like the rest of us have to."

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