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Fairgrounds tax issues causing problems for all

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opinion Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

The issue over whether those renting space from the Shell Prairie Fairgrounds should be taxed is unfortunate for all involved.

Several Minnesota laws state that when tax-exempt entities such as the fairgrounds lease, loan or make their property available for use by a private individual, association or corporation in connection with a business conducted for profit, a tax must be imposed.

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It's unfortunate for Charlie Kellner, owner of Charlie's Boats & Marine, who recently got a hefty tax bill for storing his clients' boats at the fairgrounds for the past two years.

It's also unfortunate for American Family agent Mike Berneck who was presented with a large bill from the assessors for leasing from the fairgrounds.

The assessors are also in a tough position, being required by law to assess these renters.

The situation is also unfortunate for the fair board, worried that the tax would jeopardize future rentals. The fair board could be in the situation of not having enough money to put on the fair.

Hubbard County commissioners had discussed rebating taxes levied earlier this spring on the businesses that rent space from the fairgrounds but later decided it could open up the floodgates.

Commissioners decided to have a committee study the issue before taking action. We just hope something can be done quickly.

Renters are wondering whether they should renew their leases and the fair board will want to know where it stands.

Some inquiries have already begun, which is a good step. State representatives have been contacted, although they hadn't heard of the laws in question. We're not sure what the end result will be but hopefully checking into what other counties are doing or speaking with someone from the state revenue department will provide some useful information.

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