• Tue July 10 2007
  • Posted Jul 10, 2007
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Voters in Polk, Dallas and Warren counties have overwhelmingly rejected a plan to raise the local option sales tax by one penny to help pay for property tax relief and community projects. The margin of defeat was huge. In many communities, only 15 percent of voters approved the plan - and that was often the high water mark. In other communities, as few as 5 percent or 10 percent voted yes. Fully 95 percent of voters in Altoona and Bondurant voted no. But it gets worse for backers of the Project Destiny plan. In the city of Carlisle, only 12 people showed up to vote all day and all 12 of them voted no. Warren County residents also overwhelmingly defeated the sales tax plan. Indianola residents gave a higher support than most - about 22 percent voting in favor. The overwhelming defeat is a stunning setback for the Project Destiny backers, who had raised nearly $750,000 to promote the plan. Opponents at last report had raised about $3,000. Indianola Mayor Jerry Kelley, who worked on a tri-county commission to draw up the plan, said voters may be sending a message to elected officials. "I think there is a case of - I didn't like closing neighborhood schools, Prairie Meadows didn't lower my taxes, CIETC - people were motivated," Kelley said. "It's a cynical vote - OK, here you come again. I'm going to teach you a lesson. Totally different people. Totally different issue. But it's still there," Kelley said. Dallas County returns came in late Tuesday night and generally showed the same overwhelming rejection for the sales tax increase. There is one community in Dallas County, however, that voted for the plan. The town of Dawson voted 27 to 12 in favor of Project Destiny, and appears to be the only community in the three counties that supported the tax plan. In the largest group of cities voting as one bloc, including Des Moines, West Des Moines, Urbandale, Clive, Grimes, Pleasant Hill, Johnston and Windsor Heights, there were 38,505 votes opposed and 6,731 voting yes. That's about 85 percent voting no and 15 percent voting yes, with only one precinct remaining to be counted. The issue needed 50 percent to be approved.

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