Some Linn County cities pleased, others disappointed with outcome of sales tax vote - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Some Linn County cities pleased, others disappointed with outcome of sales tax vote


CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - All but five Linn County communities approved a local option sales tax Tuesday night. Communities which had the tax before will now see their revenue from the tax drop quite substantially.

Here's how the money distribution breaks down across the county:

Cedar Rapids will get about 73% of the total tax revenue, but it is also putting in about 77%. Unincorporated communities would get about 19%, while contributing about 13%.

Other communities make up the 10% that's left, with not much difference between what they put in and what they get. But this piece of the pie used to be much bigger for the four communities that had the local option sales tax last year.

Here are the numbers:

Bertram and Praireburg both see about a 37% drop in funds they'll receive. Central City and Coggon will both see about a 73% drop.

But in Marion, where voters rejected the tax, there's a feeling of disappointment .

"This was really kind of the worst-case scenario for us," said City Manager Lon Pluckhahn. He says Marion stood to gain millions of dollars over the next several years. The sales tax money would have gone toward a major sewer expansion. Now, the city will have to increase sewer rates by an estimated 12% to 14% a year for the next few years to pay for the project.

"Marion's share of that project is $9 million, and it's not something where we can say 'no'."

Frank King, president of Cedar Rapids' Northwest Neighborhood Association, feels the vote went well there. "People actually lived up to my expectations," he told us.

He says the tax is a small price to pay to help flood victims floating in limbo.

"I think it sends a message not only to the flood victims that we care, but it also sends a message to the rest of the country that we care enough about our own folks that we're willing to step up and help them.

As tax revenue comes to the city, King wants to make sure it goes to the right places.

"We need to have a really strong oversight committee, and it needs to be populated by mostly flood-affected people."

In the meantime, Pluckhahn says the Marion City Council may look into another special election, to give the tax a second chance.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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