2016 Recreational Facilities Referendum

Residents to Vote on Recreational Facilities Referendum

Farmington City Council approved two questions related to proposed city recreational facilities be placed on the November 8, 2016, General Election ballot. The two questions are based on recommendations made by the Recreational Facilities Task Force that was appointed by the City Council. Question one represents stage one of the proposed recreational facility improvements. Question two represents proposed enhancements that would follow stage one. You must be a city of Farmington resident to vote.

Click on the titles below to learn more about the referendum.

Ballot Questions 1 & 2

Question One

​Shall the city of Farmington, Minnesota be authorized to issue its general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $9,995,000 to finance the phase one acquisition, betterment, construction, and related costs of recreational facilities including, without limitation:

  • Initial development of Jim Bell Park and Preserve’s outdoor aquatic facility, ballfields, athletic fields, expanded trail system, and community play areas;
  • outdoor refrigerated ice hockey rink near the existing Schmitz-Maki Arena;
  • completion of the North Creek Greenway trail, bridge, and connections.

Question two would be conditional upon question one passing.

Question Two

Shall the city of Farmington, Minnesota be authorized to issue its general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $2,335,000 to finance phase two acquisition, betterment, construction, and related costs of additional recreational facilities including, without limitation:​

  • Concession and restroom facility, equipment maintenance building and lighting of new ball and athletic fields at Jim Bell Park and Preserve;
  • a new shelter building in North Creek Park;
  • a roof for the new outdoor refrigerated ice hockey rink located near the existing Schmitz-Maki Arena.

By voting yes on the ballot questions you are voting for a property tax increase. The estimated annual tax increase on a 2016 median value home of $223,029 if question one passed is $85.00 for 20 years. If both questions one and two are passed the estimated annual tax increase is $106 for 20 years.

Public Informational Meetings

Public Meetings

A Recreational Facilities Referendum brochure will be mailed to city of Farmington households the week of September 26, 2016, and after this mailing the following public informational meetings will be held:

    Wednesday, October 12, 2016                       
    10:00 a.m.
    Rambling River Center - Empire Room,                          
    325 Oak Street

    Wednesday, October 19, 2016
    7:00 p.m. 
    City Hall - Council Chambers
    430 Third Street

    Wednesday, October 26, 2016 
    7:00 p.m. 
    Maintenance Facility - Conference Room
    19650 Municipal Drive

Recreational Facilities Referendum Frequently Asked Questions

Why a bond issue?

This vote will allow the citizens of Farmington to determine if a tax increase for recreational facilities is appropriate. The financing of the recreational facilities by a bond issue is a way of guaranteeing that all residents, both now and in the future, share the costs as well as the benefits of the recreational facilities.

What will the cost be to me?

The estimate below assumes a single-family home that qualifies for homestead credit status. These are only estimates; the final figures would depend on whether the city chooses to sell less than the full amount of the bonds that voters authorize and on what interest rate is set in the bond sale.

When would I see a property tax increase if the referendum is approved?

The property tax increase will start in 2017.

How soon will construction occur and improvements occur after the election if approved?

Construction of aquatic facility, park and athletic fields is likely to begin in 2017. The aquatic facility is likely to open summer of 2018. The community park is likely to open summer of 2018. The athletic fields are likely to open fall of 2018 or spring of 2019 to allow the turf to grow in. Construction of the outdoor refrigerated rink is likely to begin in 2018 and is likely to open in 2019.

How long will I pay the extra tax?

The city will issue bonds to pay construction costs. Repayment of the bonds will occur over 20 years.

How many current youth ball fields does the city of Farmington have? Why do we need five more?

The city does not currently have a formal ballfield complex of youth baseball fields.  What the city has are neighborhood park ballfields that Farmington youth baseball and the city’s t-ball program uses for organized play. These neighborhood parks were not constructed for organized play but rather for informal play by neighborhood residents.  Both Farmington youth baseball and softball associations shared during the recreational facilities task force meetings that there is a shortage of city ballfields to accommodate their growth and they have had to restrict the number of youth that could register for their programs.  They continue to see increased interest and growth of their programs.

Assuming Question #1 in the referendum is approved, what is the proposed admission price for adults, children, residents, non-residents for the new aquatic facility once it is open?

While admission fees have not been approved yet for the new aquatic facility, the operational plan developed during the Aquatic Feasibility Study was based on a $5.00 per person charge that is currently in place for the existing outdoor pool.

Will any of the revenue generated by the new recreational facilities be used to pay down the bond debt sooner?

The fees and charges associated with the new recreational facilities are projected to not generate enough revenue to cover any debt costs.

What will it cost to operate the aquatic facility, community park and fields? Where are these funds coming from?

Aquatic facility estimated annual operation expense costs is $403,635 and operating revenues from fees and charges is estimated at $386,050 for a net operating loss of $17,595. The park and athletic fields estimated annual operation expense costs is $178,970 and operating revenue from rental fees and other charges is estimated at $11,220 for an estimated net operating loss of $167,750.  The funds to make up these operating losses would come either through an increase in property taxes or from other non-taxing sources.

The estimated costs were determined by consultants who have worked on other similar projects and have experience with estimating project costs. The estimated aquatic facility operating and maintenance costs were determined during the Aquatic Feasibility Study. The park and athletic field costs were determined when the park master plan was created for Jim Bell Park and Preserve.

Why is it critical for the city to get this aquatic park and more ball fields?

The existing outdoor pool is 46 years old and is well past its useful life.  A pool’s life expectancy is about 30-35 years, so the city has been able to keep the current pool open longer than would be expected, but it is safe to say the pool will not last forever as a viable place to swim.  The city does not have any facilities to host large baseball and softball tournament events, which creates additional economic traffic in the community.

If this referendum is voted down with the citizens, will the city continue to operate the current pool or will it be closed permanently?

This is a decision that will be left to the Farmington City Council to make. Past direction from the City Council has been to keep the existing pool open until there are significant repairs needed to be made at which time a decision will be made about closing the existing outdoor pool. If the referendum passes, it is likely the existing outdoor pool will be demolished and green space would be created in its place.  The existing bathhouse may potentially be repurposed as restrooms for Evergreen Knoll Park users.

Will there be a summer bus program to the new water park as there currently is with the city pool?

Because the current Swim Bus Program, which picks up swimmers at neighborhood park locations, has been successful, it is likely it would continue to operate if a new aquatic facility were constructed. The Swim Bus Program could also be easily expanded to additional sites if it is needed.

Where can I get more information about the recreational facilities referendum?

Three public information meetings will be offered. The dates, times and locations of the meetings are as follows:

  • 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, October 12, Rambling River Center, 325 Oak Street
  • 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 19, City Hall, 430 Third Street
  • 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 26, Maintenance Facility, 19650 Municipal Drive

For referendum questions or more information, contact City Hall at 651-280-6800.


If you are interested in additional information about the recreational facilities, please contact Parks and Recreation Director Randy Distad at 651-280-6851 or Email