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Contiguous cities voting as a bloc on the local option sales tax question would use the bulk of the money collected for property tax relief.Dallas County voters will decide next week whether to join the 93 other counties in Iowa that have a countywide local-option sales tax. A vote is scheduled Nov. 7 and the outcome will determine whether sales tax should increase by one cent per dollar on sales and services.
Based on 2016 data from the Iowa Department of Revenue, 1,277 of Iowa's 1,373 communities already have passed a local-option sales tax. Dallas and Polk counties are the largest counties without the majority of cities collecting a local-option sales tax. Only five of Dallas County's 20 cities (Adel, Bouton, Dawson, Perry and Redfield) currently have the additional one-cent tax.
Each of the communities was required to declare how the money would be used. The contiguous communities have determined that 50 percent of the revenue would be dedicated to property tax relief. For the remaining 50 percent, the spending would break down as follows:
- Clive: Capital improvement projects such as pavement improvements on existing roads; park and trail improvements (in particular the development of Angel Park and Berkshire North Parks and the extension of the Greenbelt Trail west of Alice's Road); public safety facilities, including the relocation of Fire Station No. 32 from Harbach Boulevard further west and remodeling of the Dymond Public Safety Center entirely for police use; and stormwater management throughout the community and streambank stabilization along Walnut Creek and its tributaries. Estimated annual revenue for the city would be $650,000.
- Urbandale: Capital improvement projects such as public safety facilities, an aquatic center, street improvements, park and trail improvements, stormwater improvements, and related debt retirement. Estimated annual revenue: $850,000.
- Waukee: Quality of life improvement purposes, including recreational/sports complexes, community center, trails, parks, arts, cultural amenities, historic preservation, and for public uses the city deems appropriate. The city has determined it could shave a 13-year park improvement plan to four years with sales tax revenue and those projects include the completion of Fox Creek Park Phase II, including the splash pad and play areas; the addition of Westown Meadows Park east of Southeast Willowbrook Drive and north of Southeast Tallgrass Lane; the completion of Waukee Dog Park's Phase II; and an additional $2 million investment in Waukee's Youth Sports Complex. It also plans to build a new public safety building by 2025 to handle growth and increasing needs of the police and fire departments and city officials said the sales tax revenue would alleviate the need to borrow or raise property taxes to fund that project. Estimated annual revenue: $2 million.
- West Des Moines: Applied directly to the construction of public parks and recreational facilities and trails, which includes the city's $32 million Five Waters project to connect five areas of the community that have water features with a marathon-length loop trail; public infrastructure construction; and public safety expenditures. Estimated annual revenue: $1.5 million.
Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 7. If the vote passes, the tax increase would begin July 1, 2018.