To the editor,
After reading the recent letter to the editor about the Local Option Sales and Service Tax (L.O.S.S.T.), I had to admit to having mixed feelings about it myself in the past. My first thought was, “Another tax!”, but I’ve slowly done an about face on the issue.
Weighing in heaviest in its favor is the 20% that will go toward property tax relief. I don’t know about you, but I doubt that 1% of what we spend (going toward L.O.S.T.) will outweigh the amount we’ll save in property taxes. That doesn’t help everyone, but I think other benefits do.
Infrastructure improvements and repairs (such as roads and underground electrical) do end up benefitting us all, but I would like to argue that the other “fluff” mentioned in the letter benefits us as well. Our kids are grown so we can’t tell you where all the best area playgrounds are anymore, and I’ve never been in the new outdoor pool myself; but just because I don’t use them doesn’t mean they’re not important to the community as a whole. Many other people use them, and they’re the type of things that attract new residents.
Serving on the parks board the past few years has given me new respect for Pella, even though I’ve lived here 30 years. How amazing for a city our size to have about 20 parks, including an 83-acre nature wonderland (Big Rock Park is my favorite)! I hear of people who visit Pella just because of its remarkable and well-maintained parks and flower beds, and that’s not even touching on the bike trails and many other recreational opportunities that bring people to the area. And those people who visit and shop here help maintain it just a little with L.O.S.T. What may seem like fluff to some may be the very factors that help preserve our county’s vitality.
I agree that the decision for a 12-year commitment is difficult to make during hard economic times. We can’t see the future. But this isn’t a per-person out-of-pocket tax; it’s a tax only on what we spend, so our own fiscal restraint automatically means lower personal L.O.S.S.T. taxes. Anyway, I’m voting YES.
To the editor,
No one likes taxes. It would be nice if Governments at all levels were able to provide services and benefits to citizens without asking for any support. Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in. Everything costs, from the streets that we drive on, to the police and fire protection that keeps us safe from harm.
The City of Pella and her citizens have enjoyed the same low city property tax rate for the last 10 years. This has been accomplished by being good stewards of the resources that are entrusted to the Mayors, Councils and each and every one of the department heads within the City, from the City Administrators right on down the line.
On March 1st, we will all have the opportunity to vote to extend the Local Option Sales and Service Tax (LOSST) for an additional 12 years. It is important to remember this is NOT a new tax, but an extension of the existing one that has been in place since 01/01/2002. It is also a county wide tax that will include all of the communities in Marion County as well as all visitors and tourists to the area. A significant amount of this revenue is generated from visitors and non-property owners. There have been many community benefits provided by the existing tax. The aquatic center and adventure river, a new roof for the indoor pool, additional bike trails, additional downtown parking, new storm sirens, and a continuing effort to reduce our overall debt just to name a few. In fact, debt and debt commitments have been reduced by nearly $24 million over the past seven years. The current local option tax has played a significant role in making this possible.
If the LOSST is extended, the City has identified many additional benefits that could be provided without a direct impact on our local property tax rate. These benefits include; Neighborhood Street improvements, completing the electrical underground conversion project started several years ago, indoor pool repair and improvements, completing the Caldwell Park project, possible addition of a Sports Park Complex and finally, continued property tax relief. If the LOSST is not extended, many of these benefits would either be cancelled outright, or financed through property tax increases or an increase in City debt.
As you can see, there are many additional needs that can be met by extending the LOSST.
On March 1, please vote YES to extend the Local Option Sales and Service Tax.