Florence Rawn of Duluth places her ballot in the ballot counting machine at Lakeside Presbyterian Church in Duluth on Election Day in 2016. (News Tribune file photo)

By Duluth News Tribune

Local voters will weigh in on a proposed half-percent sales tax increase to fund street improvements in the city of Duluth on Tuesday. They’ll also determine the future makeup of Duluth’s School Board and City Council.

The sales tax referendum will be non-binding but is intended to provide guidance of residents’ wishes. Any actual change in the local sales tax would need to be approved by the Minnesota State Legislature.

Duluth Mayor Emily Larson has proposed the additional sales tax as a means to annually generate an estimated $7 million — money that would be placed in a dedicated fund that could be used only for street improvements.

Six races for local elected offices will appear on the ballot in Duluth — three each for both the Duluth School Board and the Duluth City Council.

Duluth School Board

Four candidates are in the running for two At Large school board seats, where incumbent Harry Welty faces challengers Josh Gorham, Bogdana “Dana” Krivogorsky and Sally Trnka.

The 1st District contest to represent Duluth’s easternmost neighborhoods — including Lakeside, Lester Park, Morley Heights, Hunters Park and parts of Woodland — pits incumbent Rosie Loeffler-Kemp against Kurt Kuehn.

Meanwhile, 4th District School Board Member Art Johnston will go up against Jill Lofald to represent Lincoln Park and all the other western neighborhoods.

Duluth City Council

In the At Large race, Duluth city councilors Zack Filipovich and Barb Russ are running for re-election, but candidates Janet Kennedy and Rich Updegrove seek to unseat them.

In the 2nd District race, Councilor Joel Sipress faces off against Ryan Sistad to represent an area that includes Congdon, Kenwood, Chester Park and part of Woodland.

In the 4th District, Renee Van Nett is taking on incumbent Councilor Howie Hanson to represent Lincoln Park, Duluth Heights and Piedmont Heights.

Outside Duluth

Elsewhere in the Northland, several communities and school districts have items on the ballot Tuesday:

  • Voters in the Cromwell-Wright school district will vote on a $5.08 million building referendum for school facility improvements.
  • In the Eveleth-Gilbert school district, Derek Malner and Mike Andrews are facing off in a special election for a school board seat.
  • Mesabi East school district voters will weigh in on whether to approve $9.745 million in bonding to renovate the school building, as well as build new athletic facilities adjacent to the school, among other projects.
  • Voters in Aurora will be choosing a new mayor — David Lislegard and Dave Meyer are running to replace Mary Hess.
  • Voters in the International Falls school district have two questions on the ballot: One to increase per-pupil spending, and the other to authorize $1.75 million in bonding for facility improvements.


In Duluth, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday

Individuals who are unclear about where they should vote can enter an address of residence at the following website: pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us.

Those in Duluth without internet access may contact the Duluth City Clerk’s office at (218) 730-5500 for more information.


Find results Tuesday night at duluthnewstribune.com, and in Wednesday’s print edition of the News Tribune.

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