Amount you pay in sales tax in some Eastern Iowa counties at sta - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Amount you pay in sales tax in some Eastern Iowa counties at stake

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There's just one week until city elections. For many voters, you have to choose more than just mayoral and city council candidates. In several cities you're also going to be asked about extending the Local Option Sales Tax, impacting everyone who shops there.

When it comes to sales tax issues in Iowa, metro areas vote together as a block. In Linn County, that's Cedar Rapids, Fairfax, Hiawatha, Marion, and Robins. Without majority approval from all those voters, the current rate will expire at the end of May. Voters are being asked to extend the one percent tax through 2024.

"It's thought that the people in each of those cities shop in each others' communities, therefore they should all pay the same taxes," said Joel Miller, Linn County Auditor. 

Each city will use the money differently.

  • Cedar Rapids will improve streets. 
  • Fairfax will use the money for any lawful purpose.
  • Hiawatha wants water, sewer, street, public safety, library and park improvements along with property tax relief.
  • Marion would use 70% for street and sewer improvements and 30% for community projects. 
  • Robins wants street, water and sewers fixed along with community improvement projects.

Right now overall voter turnout is expected to be about 20% in Linn County, which is on par for other citywide elections. Population size could make a big difference in the final results. 

"There's obviously more people in Cedar Rapids so odds are that Cedar Rapids will swing the majority vote, whichever way it goes," said Miller.

Voters in Cedar Rapids are split on the issue.

"The people that use the streets, I believe we all need to pay for them rather than just a few of us property taxpayers," said Jane Beck, Cedar Rapids. 

Others at the polls told us they showed up to vote to see the measure fail, which it has twice in recent years.

The Waterloo area also votes as a block on sales tax issues. Next week voters in Cedar Falls, Elk Run Heights, Evansdale, Hudson, Raymond, and Waterloo will be asked to extend the Local Option Sales Tax there through 2025.

Smaller cities vote on sales tax extensions individually. There are also many of those next week including Dunkerton, Gilbertville, La Porte City, and rural Black Hawk County.

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