Local Option Sales and Services Tax
What is the Local Option?
As outlined by Iowa law, local communities are able to pass a 1 cent Local Option Sales and Services Tax. Today, nearly 93% of Iowa communities have an existing Local Option that is paid at retail establishments across the state - both by those who live in the community and those visiting. Currently, Polk County and Johnson County are the only counties without the Local Option.
When do I vote?
A special election will be held Tuesday, March 5, 2019.
To vote by absentee ballot, complete the absentee ballot request form at the Polk County Auditor's website and mail to the Polk County Election Office at 120 2nd Ave Suite A, Des Moines IA 50309. A notice of election and list of polling places may be found at the Polk County Auditor's website.
What language will appear on the ballot?
To authorize imposition of a local sales and services tax in the City of Pleasant Hill, Iowa at the rate of one percent (1%) to be effective from July 1, 2019. A local sales and services tax shall be imposed in the City of Pleasant Hill, Iowa at the rate of one percent (1%) to be effective from July 1, 2019.
Revenues from the sales and services tax shall be allocated as follows:
85% for property tax relief;
The specific purposes for which the revenues shall otherwise be expended are:
15% for property tax stabilization through projects including, but not limited to, public safety, parks, recreation, trails, streets, utilities, economic development, community facilities and buildings and any lawful purposes of the City of Pleasant Hill.
How would Pleasant Hill use this revenue?
The City of Pleasant Hill would use this revenue to build a new Public Safety Facility and renovate the current space to serve as command headquarters for the Fire Department.
A third party assessed the space needs of the City last year and determined the current public safety facility needs addressed. They stated, "The police department is severely suffering from lack of adequate space for various functions. There are liability risks to the city based on safety of staff and public with respect to how the facility is impacting the department’s ability to provide services."
Learn more about the decision the build a new Public Safety Facility and renovations of the current facility, as well as where the process currently stands at www.pleasanthilliowa.org/publicsafety.
How would the Local Option affect property taxes?
The City's tax rate has held steady for 19 years at $11.65 per $1,000 of a house's assessed value. To fund construction of the new facility, taxes may rise to $13.55 per $1,000. The Local Option would lower the need for a rise of property taxes.
Who pays the tax?
The sales tax applies to everyone, including visitors (non-Polk County resident), who makes purchases at a retail establishment or uses a contracted service in Polk County. In 2017, according to a report commissioned by Catch Des Moines, 13.7 million visitors (non-Polk County resident) spent $838 million in Greater Des Moines.
Do other Cities have the Local Option?
Currently, Polk County and Johnson County are the only counties without a Local Option Sales Tax. However, some cities in Polk County do collect a Local Option Sales Tax. This includes Polk City, Mitchellville, and Runnells. Mitchellville receives $87,000/month with the Local Option. Jordan Creek Shopping Center is located in Dallas County and charges the Local Option Sales Tax.
How will the City account for funds received through the Local Option?
Funds will be accounted for in annual budget reporting.
Is anything excluded from this sales tax?
Yes. You will not pay the local option on food for prescriptions, medical devices, gasoline, utilities, vehicles, professional services like medical or legal, and hotel/motel rentals.
How much revenue will be generated?
It is estimated Pleasant Hill would receive $1.4 Million.
Does the measure need to pass in every city or county-wide?
In May, the Iowa Legislature changed requirements for voting on the Local Option. Now each city votes on their own. This means, that Pleasant Hill will vote as a city and if 50% vote yes, the measure passes.