Local Option Dollars at Work in Des Moines

If you take a close look at a penny these days, you really don’t see a whole lot. You can’t buy anything with one. We’re more than happy to leave them behind and get this: it costs more than two cents just to make one penny. So what good are they? Well, believe it or not there’s a lot of value in that single penny and it’s being felt these days in Des Moines. It all began last spring when Des Moines voters supported local sales and service tax for the City of Des Moines. By adding just that single cent voters put in motion a catalyst that will reverse years of inadequate resources and trigger a positive impact for decades on our City, its neighborhoods and residents. Here’s how: The one-cent sales tax that took effect on July 1st will generate roughly $37 million for Des Moines each year This new money, a third of which comes from visitors to Des Moines, will have transformative and measurable impacts for our city in several ways. It begins with property taxes: By state law, 50% of the new sales tax revenue must go towards property tax relief. Those efforts are already underway. Just two days after receiving approval from voters the City Council reduced Des Moines’ property tax levy to its lowest in the last seven years. Thanks to the new sales tax and the value of all those pennies visitors and commuters now help fund the much needed improvements to our aging infrastructure. This includes repaving and replacing Des Moines streets as well as vital storm sewer upgrades to help keep our neighborhoods protected during heavy rains and floods. The City has also committed Local Option revenue to reinvest in the heart of Des Moines: our neighborhoods. We expanded operating hours at every one of the City’s six public libraries. And we’re able to implement a new program called “Blitz on Blight” that allows us to take down ten times as many houses like this within the City of Des Moines in a year. And to better serve our growing community Local Option revenue is used to enhance public safety by hiring an additional 13 firefighters. and much needed, mobile, mental health crisis services for young people. Providing property tax relief Fixing our streets and our storm sewers Strengthening our neighborhoods Enhancing public safety Our commitments to this city are clearly defined thanks to the strong mandate delivered by voters last spring. As we continue to improve our city and the lives of those who call Des Moines home we promise to use these Local Option funds effectively, responsibly and transparently. Our community is worth every penny.

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