FRANCHISE FEE: DM Residents Set For The Polls

Ten years of court battles are over and on Tuesday Des Moines voters will decide how to pay for an illegal tax charged by the Des Moines City Council.

It all started in 2004 when a Des Moines woman filed a lawsuit over the franchise fee tacked onto her utility bill.

The Iowa Supreme Court decided it was an illegal tax and ordered $40 million in refunds.

The Des Moines City council now wants those who were charged the illegal tax to pay for their own refunds.

In order to pay for the $40 million in bonds used to pay the settlement, the city plans to either raise property taxes or the franchise fee.

Tuesday will see voters decide which one is going up.

If the vote to raise the franchise fee fails, city leaders will move forward with the property tax increase.

The city does not plan to make any budget cuts in order to pay the settlement.

Polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm.

Ames vote

Ames voters will also head to the polls on Tuesday to decide on upgrades to the Scheman building.

Residents are being asked to approve a $19 million bond referendum. The money would be used to elevate the building to protect it from flooding and add a massive ballroom and exhibit space.

Property taxes would increase to pay for the project.

1 Comment

  • Withheld

    I don’t see the council taking responsibility here. Obviously the councilmembers can’t pay the entire amount, but I think a token chunk should come from the ones who approved it and let it stand. I know they wanted to appear confident they were in the right, but they could have backed out of it earlier. I think $1000 per year effective per approving member should work–and we should not raise the pay of still-serving members to ‘cover their expenditures.’

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