Dubuque County ISU Extension seeks change in tax levy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque County ISU Extension seeks change in tax levy

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- In 1985 the Dubuque County Iowa State Extension received funding through a tax levy. Since then they've been getting that same amount each year. Despite attempts to change the tax levy in 2006 and 2008, they haven't been able to get more money. Now in 2010, they're asking, again, for a change to receive more money though county tax payers. It's something Dubuque County residents will see on their ballot.

If you ever drive west of Dubuque city limits on Highway 20, chances are you've passed their building. And chances are you've even used their services.

"We are only one of 6 counties that has not passed this and we are the only urban county that has not passed this. Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines all your bigger counties have passed it," Dubuque County Extension Vice President Esther Farnum said.

Up until now, ISU Extension hasn't received they money it needs.

"Any extra money is through grants and contracts and a lot of the grants you would need they money up front before you can get it," Farnum said.

In 1985 voters passed a referendum that gave the extension $112,500 annually through property taxes. 25 years later and they're still getting that money but it's not allowing the office to offer proper services.

"We are only open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Thursday. We are not open on Friday," Farnum said.

And they've removed in school programs, master gardener certification and financial advisor programs.

But on November 2, the ballot will ask voters if the public measure should be approved. And the Extension Office is asking Dubuque County to vote yes, and raise their revenue limit to $301,500 beginning July 1st, 2011.

If the measure is approved, a house valued at $100,000 would pay a $2.54 increase per year.

The Dubuque County Auditor's office says they haven't heard of any organized opposition to the referendum.

The Extension also points out that their services aren't just agricultural. They offer nutrition and health education, science and technology classes as well as parenting and skill development programs.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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