Skip to main content

Boreal Community Media

Local Option Taxes Contribute to Local Economy and Infrastructure

Aug 07, 2018 04:27PM ● By Editor

Aug 7, 2018 – Have you ever wondered what exactly local option taxes are, and what they are used for? Here in Cook County, local option taxes include a Lodging Tax, a Local 1% Sales Tax and a local 0.5% Transportation Sales Tax. 

“Local option taxes make a significant contribution to the local economy and community through the funding of construction and improvements to a variety of vital community amenities and important infrastructure,” said Braidy Powers, County Auditor/Treasurer.

Lodging Tax

Lodging Tax is collected and paid to the County, if you operate a lodging business located in a Cook County. Lodging taxes apply to room rentals of less than 30 consecutive days. The 4% (1% in limited areas) lodging tax is collected by the business, from lodging guests and then paid to the County on the same schedule that businesses pay state sales tax: monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Three fourths of the tax collected goes to the tourism association to help promote general tourism in Cook County. One quarter of the tax collected is for Visit Cook County to support the events portion of the work they do. The collection of the 1% started in May of 2010. Approximately, $1,600,000 is collected each year from the 4% Lodging Tax.  

Local Sales Tax

Collection of 1% Local Sales Tax began in April 2010, after a 2009 Referendum where voters approved the tax for up to $20 million in projects towards:

  • Construction and improvement of a countywide high-speed communications infrastructure network
  • Construction, improvements and additions to community centers and public recreation areas, including public parking areas.
  • Construction of and improvements to the Grand Marais Public Library
  • Construction and improvement of a district energy plant for public facilities in Grand Marais

Projects completed with the funding include the Cook County YMCA, improvements to the Grand Marais Public Library, and improvements to the Birch Grove Community Center. The funding also provided critical contributions to construction of the Arrowhead Electric broadband network and Superior National Golf Course reconstruction. Other projects included a biomass feasibility study and the Cook County Public Tennis Courts reconstruction.

Approximately, $1,500,000 is contributed annually from this tax to pay for the $20 million project bonding costs.

Transportation Sales Tax
As for the 0.5% Local Transportation Sales Tax, it’s purpose is to contribute funds to the County/State Approved Transportation project list.  

Projects funded with these proceeds include roads, bridges, culverts, curbing and other transportation related work.

A total of $652,000 in Local Transportation Sales Tax revenue was received beginning in February 2017 and allocated to the approved projects.

For more information on local option taxes, contact the Auditor’s Office or visit the Auditor/Treasurer section of the website at

Contact:  Braidy Powers, County Auditor/Treasurer, 218-387-3646, or [email protected]

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here