Osceola County tax approved
SIBLEY, Iowa -- The second time will be a charm for proponents of a 1-percent sales tax in Osceola County. Voters in Ashton, Harris, Melvin and Ocheyedan supported collection of the tax during a Tuesday evening vote. During a similar vote in Janu...
SIBLEY, Iowa -- The second time will be a charm for proponents of a 1-percent sales tax in Osceola County.
Voters in Ashton, Harris, Melvin and Ocheyedan supported collection of the tax during a Tuesday evening vote.
During a similar vote in January of 2008, only the City of Sibley passed the measure. Rural residents in unincorporated parts of Osceola County voted overwhelmingly against the measure for the second time.
Voter turnout hovered around 30 percent in the four towns, where a simple majority was needed to pass the measure.
In the City of Ashton, results were 77 in favor and 14 opposed; the City of Harris recorded 23 votes in favor and 7 votes against; the City of Melvin approved the measure on a vote of 32 in favor to 14 opposed; and the City of Ocheyedan recorded 67 votes in favor and 40 votes opposed.
The city of Ocheyedan was the only one to include language on the ballot that specified what the revenues would be used for, stating that 100 percent would be "used to finance street, park and city building improvements and upkeep as determined by the Ocheyedan City Council."
"The reason we specified particular areas is we were hoping people would be more apt to pass it knowing that it's not just going to be thrown into the general fund and used at whim for whatever we wanted," explained Ocheyedan Mayor Arlyn Pedley. "We do have a really nice park that we'd like to keep up, and there's not enough in the general fund to do what we want to do. Our town hall could always use some updating," he detailed, also citing the seal coating program for streets as a possible use of funds.
The city of Ocheyedan stands to gain about $64,800 annually from collection of the tax.
The city of Harris will receive about $21,600; Melvin, $29,700; Ashton, $55,400; and Sibley, where the tax is already being collected, will receive about $336,500.
Voter turnout was lower among rural voters, about 12 percent. But of the 228 who showed up at the polls, only 69 voted in favor of the measure, with 159 voting against it.
Because the measure was defeated in the unincorporated areas, those areas won't receive any of the estimated $508,000 that will be distributed to the towns annually. If rural voters had approved the measure, unincorporated areas would have received about $249,524 annually, or about 48 percent of the total revenue collected.
With all ballots counted, there were 268 votes in favor and 234 votes against collection of the tax.
The tax will be collected on all currently taxed goods and services in the four towns beginning Jan. 1, 2010. The tax will not be collected at Jack Rabbit Junction.