Written by Michael Crowe, Multimedia Journalist - email
WATERLOO (KWWL) -
In just a few weeks, Waterloo voters will have the option to help fund the Grout Historical District.
"The Grout levy campaign is designed to support ongoing operations of the Grout through a 27 cent per $1000 of assessed value tax on Waterloo property owners," said John Wood of the Grout Board of Directors.
Though the Grout is a private institution, they say they provide a public service to the Cedar Valley.
They also say that municipal support for the museum is currently low, at only about seven percent, or about a third the average for similar institutions in the United States.
The proposition is on the ballot as "Waterloo Public Measure F - Grout Museum Tax Levy." It was brought by a group known as Citizens for the Grout.
"I think it's important to be able to help the Grout not stay stagnant," said Cindy Wells, co-chair of the Citizens for the Grout. "[The levy] can help it grow with more funds. It can grow, and we dont want to have a stagnant institution in Waterloo."
But in the coming election, taxes are already a major concern for some Waterloo residents.
At a mayoral debate last week, much of the discussion focused on property taxes in Waterloo, which some say are already too high. In a letter to the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier,
Noel Thornsberry listed several reasons in opposition to the measure saying "An institution that benefits the entire Cedar Valley is asking for support from only Waterloo city property owners... And the tax is never ending."
Still, those at the Grout hope voters support their cause, because if the levy doesn't pass, they might have to cut the hours they're open, or stop providing education programs in area schools.
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