LOST without it
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Waylan and Tonya Shoesmith, both 43, are pictured outside their home at 127 N. Main St., in Carroll with their three children: Jordan, 18, who will soon head to Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge where he will be on the swim team; Trey, 13; and Taydem, 10, who is holding the family dog, Summer.
Waylan and Tonya Shoesmith of Carroll acknowledge $19 a year doesn’t go far when raising three kids.
But each dollar matters in their household at 127 N. Main St. property with an official assessed valuation of $92,220.
With 25 percent of the city’s local-option sales-tax revenue going to property-tax relief the Shoesmiths can expect to see about $190 of that over the next decade, should the City of Carroll’s 1-percent sales tax be renewed by voters next Tuesday. The owner of a home with an assessed value of $200,000 could expect to see property-tax relief of $430 over the next decade through the local-option sales tax, using the city’s current tax rate and sales collections as a base.
Should the local sales tax fail to get a nod from voters before it sunsets, the Shoesmiths actually could see a much higher property-tax bill in coming years as city leaders, who increasingly have relied on the local-option sales tax for essential services, raise the levy to compensate.
“I like the idea that people outside the city are helping to pay for it,” Tonya Shoesmith said.
The city’s property-tax levy is $12.93 per $1,000 valuation. Without help from the local-option sales tax, and with no cuts to the budget, the rate would be at $13.64 per $1,000 valuation, said city finance director Laura Schaefer.
In fiscal year 2011 — April 1, 2010 through March 31, 2011 — the City of Carroll collected $1.3 million in sales-tax dollars, a figure that has increased from $1.1 million in fiscal year 2007. The current authority for the City of Carroll to collect the sales tax expires on Dec. 31, 2013. The tax requires a simple majority for passage. There would be an opportunity for an additional two votes before the sunset triggers if Tuesday’s vote fails.
The list of initiatives the city funded over the last decade with $11 million in local option collections includes: $2.9 million for the fire station, $3 million for streetscape improvements in the commercial district, $950,000 for street rehabilitation, $125,000 for the traffic signals at U.S. Highway 30 and Griffith Road, $251,000 for the Carroll Family Aquatic Center, $71,000 for a parallel taxiway at the Carroll Airport, $230,000 for tennis courts, $50,000 for a city hall boiler, $56,300 for an airport tractor, $3,700 for airport snow-removal equipment and $90,000 for a family changing room at the Carroll Recreation Center.
“I think it’s important for us to look at this as a way for us to keep pushing ahead,” Mayor Adam Schweers said.
Expiration of the tax would have negative impact on the Carroll area, Schweers said.
“I think you’ll find that we’ll be pointing out a lot of infrastructure and care and improvements to existing structures and streets and things of that nature that have been very important to the town,” Schweers said.
The language on Tuesday’s ballot would require the city to use 25 percent of local option sales-tax revenue for property-tax relief with 75 percent going to any legal purpose over the next decade. The tax would sunset after 10 years. City officials have said that more local-option money would likely be used for basic street repairs throughout Carroll should the state fail to refill the Road Use Tax Fund at adequate levels.
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.
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, 0.6 percent; and Ralston, $12,000, 0.4 percent.
The unincorporated area receives $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 vote was held July 2, 2002, and the results in the City of Carroll were 998 yes and 1,481 no.