DES MOINES, Iowa --Des Moines, Altoona, Alleman, Pleasant Hill, West Des Moines, and Windsor Heights; shoppers in all six communities can expect to notice a slight difference at the register starting July 1 when the sales tax will go from six to seven cents. The communities overwhelmingly passed a one cent local option sales tax increase on Tuesday.
“We provide a lot of regional and statewide amenities, and we're proud to do that, that's part of what makes Des Moines great, but this is a way that visitors get to contribute to that” said Des Moines City Councilman Josh Mandelbaum.
Mandelbaum says Des Moines residents will notice the benefits of the tax immediately, with more road projects given the green light at a time when 40% of the city's roads are rated in poor to very poor condition. The improvements won’t happen all at once, but will go hand in hand with other projects.
“We're going to start with our Blitz on Blight. We're gonna start taking down, you know in the past we've been taking down 10-15 nuisance blighted homes a year. We're going to get going in the next year and go in after 150 and then keeping up that pace” said Mandelbaum.
The funds raised by the tax will go into a community pot and be given out based on population. Des Moines is projected to get 37 million dollars, where the small community of Alleman is projected to get about $70,000 a year.
“The $70,000 is going to be a nice amount that we can apply towards the issues at hand” said Alleman Mayor Carmella Jones.
Alleman just has a few hundred residents, and a few hundred thousand dollars in debt. Jones says a portion of the tax will go towards paying down that debt each year, giving the city a newfound ability to make some aesthetic improvements along with improvements to infrastructure.
“We haven’t ever had the capability to do that, you know, some streetscaping, some beautification, this is just going to give us that boost to get us to that place” said Jones.
Alleman passed the measure by the widest margin with 79% of the community voting yes.
The tax also helps Des Moines residents avoid a 30-cent property tax increase, and instead will see a 60-cent property tax reduction.