Effect of harness park’s tax payments far-reaching

Columbus took in over $55K of property tax from Running Aces in 2012


Cliff Buchan
Staff Writer

When it comes to paying property taxes, is Running Aces Harness Park a good citizen?

A look at the financial numbers tied to property taxes would seem to indicate the harness park in Columbus is a solid citizen. That comes after some online reader comments regarding the March 14 Times story on Running Aces seemed to point elsewhere.

That’s not the case at all, said City Administrator Elizabeth Mursko, and Tracie Wilson, chief financial officer at Running Aces.

Mursko reported this week that Running Aces paid overall property taxes of $521,312 in 2012. That includes $55,512 to Columbus.

The Forest Lake School District, Anoka County and other minor taxing districts all share in the more than a half million dollars in property tax payments.

And that’s just part of the Running Aces contribution, Mursko said.

The track also pays Columbus $88,300 a year and has done so each year since Running Aces opened in 2008. The $88,300 is a volunteer payment to help offset city expenses for additional police and fire calls, and other city services beyond that covered by property taxes.

Mursko is also estimating that in 2013, Running Aces will have a total property tax bill of $515,326. Some $83,714 will go to Columbus City coffers. The $88,300 payment for services is also part of the Columbus revenue stream this year, Mursko said.

She called the Running Aces property annual tax bill of more than $500,000 “significant” for a local business.

First Three Years

The first three years of the Running Aces operation also produced significant tax revenues for the city, Wilson said this week.

From 2009 through 2011, Running Aces paid a combined $434,067 in property taxes to the city, Wilson said.

That’s in addition to the $264,900 ($88,300 a year) for the same three-year period to cover special needs that track management agreed to fund outside the regular property tax contribution.