Wednesday, August 8, 2012

City of Carroll voters Tuesday overwhelmingly approved extension of the 1 percent local-option sales tax for another 10 years.

The ballot measure passed with 71 percent of the vote — 555-229. It carried all four wards in the city handily. Turnout was 10.7 percent.

“I am pleased that the people of Carroll are supportive of this,” said Carroll Mayor Adam Schweers.

Schweers worked aggressively to promote the tax extension, noting the property-tax-relief component and variety of projects financed over the last decade.

According to the official ballot language, 25 percent of the revenue from the sales tax in the City of Carroll must go to property-tax relief with 75 percent available for necessary capital-improvement projects or any lawful purpose. The City of Carroll vote authorizes extension of the tax through Dec. 31, 2023.

Schweers said future funding plans would become more clear after the council’s long-range strategic-planning session on Saturday, Aug. 25, at Sam & Louie’s. The session starts at 8 a.m. and is open to the public. More detailed and updated three- to five-year capital plans for the city are likely to take root there, Schweers said.

“I think our council has shown a lot of enthusiasm for infrastructure projects,” Schweers said.

Without the nod from voters, the sales tax, already in place, would sunset on Dec. 31, 2013, leaving a gaping hole in Carroll’s revenue stream and those of other cities in Carroll County and the Board of Supervisors. Each take a cut of the sales-tax pie.

The Carroll Area Development Corp. and Carroll Chamber of Commerce separately endorsed renewal of the tax.

“CADC’s endorsement hinges on the fact that the whole county benefits,” said CADC president Steve Schulz, provost at Des Moines Area Community College’s Carroll campus.

The breakdown of voting in Carroll was as follows: Ward 1, 154 -72; Ward 2, 166-59; Ward 3, 87-51; Ward 4, 93-27; absentee, 55-20.

The vote will become official following a Board of Supervisors canvass Monday.

The sales tax is collected countywide and disbursed to cities and the county based on a state-mandated formula that takes into consideration population and other factors.

In fiscal year 2011 — April 1 of 2010 to March 31 of 2011 — the City of Carroll collected $1.3 million in sales tax, a figure that has increased from $1.1 million in fiscal year 2007.

Seventy-nine percent of the taxable sales in 2011 — $214 million — were made in the City of Carroll. The breakdown in other cities for FY 2011 is as follows: Manning, $13 million, 5 percent; Coon Rapids, $9 million, 3.4 percent; Glidden, $8 million, 2.9 percent; Breda, $8 million, 3.2 percent; Templeton, $3.8 million, 1.4 percent; Arcadia, $5.3 million, 2 percent; Halbur, $4 million, 1.5 percent; Dedham, $1.4 million, .5 percent; and the unincorporated area in the county plus Willey, Lidderdale, Ralston and Lanesboro, $2.8 million, 1 percent.

Total taxable sales in Carroll County in FY 2011 stood at $270 million.

Forty-two percent — $1.3 million — of the sales tax collected in the county went to the City of Carroll in FY 2011. The breakdown for distribution of funds to other cities in the county is as follows: Manning, $191,000, 6 percent; Coon Rapids, $170,000, 5.6 percent; Glidden, $149,000, 5 percent; Breda, $53,000, 1.8 percent; Templeton, $39,000, 1.3 percent; Arcadia, $53,000, 1.8 percent; Halbur, $26,000, 1 percent; Dedham, $32,000, 1 percent; Lidderdale, $22,000, 1 percent; Lanesboro, $17,000, .6 percent; and Ralston, $12,000, .4 percent.

The unincorporated area receive $972,000, or 32 percent of the total sales tax disbursements in Carroll County. The Board of Supervisors determines how that money is spent.

On May 13, 2003, the local-option sales tax passed by just 48 votes in the City of Carroll — 1,229-1,181. The ballot language required the city to use 25 percent of the local-option sales tax money for property-tax relief, with 75 percent available for other city business.

The first local-option election was held July 2, 2002, and the results in the City of Carroll were 998 yes and 1,481 no.