Fairfield Ledger
http://fairfield-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1118064

Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 24, 2014

Breaking down March 4 vote

By Tom McMahon, Jeremy Atwood and Jodi Kerr | Feb 20, 2014

To the editor:

A special election will be held on March 4 for voters within the unincorporated areas of Jefferson County.

The proposal is to allocate the county’s portion of the Local Option Sales and Service Tax (LOSST) as follows: 64 percent property tax relief, 20 percent roads and bridges, 16 percent construction of an outdoor swimming pool and indoor recreation facility.

This 16 percent allocation would continue until $1 million has been spent or 10 years have passed, whichever comes first (then the 16 percent would revert back to property tax relief).

Why should county residents participate financially to this project? Every resident in Fairfield and the county will be able to use these facilities for the same fees. County residents will have no responsibility for operational or maintenance costs. The county is not bonding for this and there will be no added interest expense for county taxpayers. This is a $10 million project being funded by only 40 percent public money. The pool alone will cost more than $4 million. Our community is receiving a great value for its investment.

What is the actual financial impact to county residents compared to city residents? Based on information from the county auditor, the actual annual impact on county property taxpayers would be approximately $14.72 per $100,000 for residential class properties and $11.75 per $100,000 for agricultural class properties. This assessment would be for no more than 10 years.

For example, if you own a residential property valued at $100,000 in the unincorporated areas of the county, this project will cost your family about $1.23 per month. If you have a farm assessed at $1 million, this project will cost you about $9.80 per month.

By comparison, city residents will be paying approximately $39.00 per $100,000 of assessed value for a 20-year period. The total amount a county resident with $100,000 assessed valuation will pay for the project is less than 20 percent what a city resident with the same amount of assessed valuation will pay.

Is this project needed and why should county residents care enough to support it? This facility would be used by all generations for many years to come. Public facilities like this matter. They make our county a more pleasant place to live and a more attractive location for people who might be considering moving here.

We all benefit from increased sales tax receipts and a growing property tax base. The $1 million from the county is just 10 percent of the estimated project cost but it is a critical piece. This contribution gets the project closer to our goal and greatly enhances our opportunity to successfully generate the remaining funding through grants and additional donations. Please support the future of Jefferson County.

You can vote now. Just go to the auditor’s office in the court house during regular business hours.

 

– Tom McMahon, Jeremy Atwood and Jodi Kerr

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