Sales tax to go on ballot


After weeks of debate, the Iowa City City Council approved the language for a 1-cent sales-tax increase to be placed on May 5 special-election ballot.

“It’s important that people know there’s no way we can fund these three projects without the sales tax,” City Councilor Connie Champion said at a meeting Tuesday. “Flood relief is vital to our community, and this is our best resource.”

The wording — that the money would be used for “remediation, repair, and protection of flood-impacted public infrastructure” — passed unanimously. Pending voter approval, the tax would take effect July 1.

The 1-cent increase is part of a statewide effort to aid flood-affected counties. If passed, sales tax in Iowa City would become 7 percent for the next five years; it could potentially generate an estimated $45 million.

But some councilors were concerned the language was too specific and would not allow for movement when determining projects for the potential funds.

“I’m disappointed we’re not allowing flexibility to purchase flood-damaged homes,” Councilor Amy Correia said.

Councilor Matt Hayek noted the council’s use of the possible money is not for random projects but for city flood relief.

“It’s limited in its scope. If it passes, it will be limited to flood relief,” he said. “What we’re proposing is consistent with the intentions of the state Legislature and will benefit all of our residents.”

Johnson County Republicans member Deborah Thornton asked councilors to reconsider the nonpartisan tax increase.

“Flood mitigation is admirable, but the city and the county need to do what the rest of us are doing,” Thornton said. “We’re tightening our belts and eating Mac and Cheese to save costs.”

Iowa City officials expect to use the money to elevate Dubuque Street, reconstruct the Park Road bridge, and relocate the North Waste Water Treatment Plant — projects estimated at $84 million.

“As we know, Dubuque Street is one of the first places that floods,” said Bailey, who recently went to Washington, D.C., to lobby for extra funds. “Fixing these projects will benefit our community members, the university, and all those who visit Iowa City.”

The council’s decision to move forward with the measure means other towns in the county will now be able to put the 1-cent increase on their ballots. Because Iowa City has more than 50 percent of Johnson County’s population, it is the first jurisdiction in the county allowed to put the sales tax on the ballot.

Daily Iowan Advertising
Today's Display Ads | Today's Classifieds | Advertising Info

Sponsored Links  
T-Shirt Design  
Insurance Leads Charlotte Web Design
Health Insurance Leads Home Equity Loans
Home Service Guides  
Life Insurance DMI Furniture
Custom Magnets Buy a text ad

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.