Olmsted County, MN (KROC-AM News)- Voters will be heading to the ballot box across Olmsted County on Tuesday. 

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Absentee voting has been underway since September. Despite it being an off-year election this year, voters are being asked to weigh in on several items. 

The City of Rochester, Rochester School Board and Stewartville School Board all have ballot items being presented to their voters. 

City of Rochester

Earlier this year, the Rochester City Council approved a resolution to ask voters to decide whether or not to extend the city’s half-cent sales tax

Kim David/TSM
Kim David/TSM
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If approved, the extension, which has been in place since the 1980’s, would be in place until it raises an estimated $205 million in revenue or for 20 years to fund four major initiatives: an economic vitality fund, street reconstruction, flood control and water quality, and a sports and recreation complex. 

Rochester Public School District

The Rochester School Board is putting a $10 million technology referendum in front of its voters. If approved, the funding would go towards upgrading the district’s technology and security. 

Kim David TSM
Kim David TSM
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The referendum was the subject of a lawsuit filed last week in Olmsted County Court by Casey McGregor, who is a member of the Say No to The Taxman Committee that was formed by some local citizens in opposition to the school district proposal and the City of Rochester's proposed extension of its half-cent sales tax. 

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in court
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The lawsuit challenges the wording of the ballot question for the school district referendum. It contends that it is misleading because the majority of the revenue that would be collected from school district property owners if the referendum is approved would be directed to the general fund and only about $3 million would be used for new technology upgrades.

Rochester Public Schools Superintendent Kent Pekel has stated multiple times that the tax increase would be utilized to shift $7 million in current technology-related expenditures away from the general fund to the new technology levy, which would also allow the district to increase its technology spending by about $3 million per year over the next 10 years.

Pekel. Rochester Public Schools
Pekel. Rochester Public Schools
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A statement recently issued by the school district states, "The District engaged legal counsel to ensure that the ballot question was drafted to meet all legal requirements. We look forward to the election and await the voters decision."

Stewartville School District

Voters in the Stewartville area will also see a bond referendum for their local school district on the ballot in the form of two questions.

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Google street view
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If both questions are approved, the more than $60 million raised would cover costs to upgrade security at the entrances to the district’s school, add more instruction space at the middle and high schools, upgrade existing educational space at the high school and the addition of a K-2 education center. 

More information about voting in Tuesday’s election can be found on Olmsted County’s website and the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website.

Top 20 Worst Places to Live in Minnesota

If you've spent any amount of time living in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes, consider yourself lucky, as it's widely regarded as one of the best states in the entire country to live and raise a family.

That being said, some towns have a better reputation than others. Money Inc. recently released its list of the Top 20 Worst Places to live in all of Minnesota and it has created quite a stir in the North Star State.

Money Inc. used crime statistics, unemployment rates, and overall happiness to determine which cities and towns fit the bill.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are not my own and are taken from a list provided by Moneyinc.com

Gallery Credit: Andy Gott

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