Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Carroll Chamber of Commerce board of directors has endorsed extension of the 1-percent local option sales tax in Carroll.

The vote is Tuesday, Aug. 7, and requires 50 percent for passage. There are 408 Chamber members, businesses and individuals representing a wide swath of business activity in west-central Iowa.

“We like the property-tax relief that is realized by revenue from the sales tax, especially for owners of business property, who pay 100 percent of assessed value. Residential property owners get property-tax relief due to local option sales tax as well,” said Chamber vice president Aaron Juergens of Juergens Produce & Feed.

The city used local option revenue to provide $2.8 million in property-tax relief over the last decade.

The current authority for the City of Carroll to collect the sales tax expires on Dec. 31, 2013. City officials, who want reliability of the revenue flow as they plan for the future, are looking for the renewal.

Also important is the impact of revenue from extension of the local option sales tax on highly visible projects in Carroll, the Chamber says in a news release. The current local option sales tax funded a number of high-profile projects, notably the Corridor of Commerce streetscape in Carroll’s Central Business District and a new fire station.

The list of projects 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.

 “We are making a place people want to return to,” said Chamber board member Gina Bauck of Enchanted Gardens.

The Carroll Area Development Corp. also endorsed the current local option tax.

“Community needs in the next 10 years will be different, and we should extend the local option tax another 10 years to accommodate those needs,” says Chamber board member Ken Payer of Champion Ford, “The Council has thoughtfully considered the application of funds generated by the tax. We expect

them to continue to use funds from passage of the extension in the same manner.”

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 same language appears on the ballot in August along with a 10-year sunset.