Tuesday’s vote for the extension of the 1 percent Local Option Sale’s Tax (LOST) will be vital to the future of the city of Ottumwa and Wapello County. The current 1 percent LOST for the city will expire on Dec. 31, 2015, which coincides with the last bond payment due on Bridge View Center. Bridge View Center will be paid in-full at that time.
Voting yes on Public Measure H will change nothing in terms of the 7 percent sales tax we are currently paying; it extends and reauthorizes the tax though Dec. 31, 2025. During this 10-year period, the tax will generate more than $3 million each year to improve infrastructure and provide property tax relief.
The funds generated by LOST can only be spent on sewer improvements, street repairs and property tax relief. Ninety percent of the tax will go toward sewer and street repair projects and 10 percent for property tax relief. Property tax relief would apply to all property across the board — business, residential and commercial alike. The funds from the LOST referendum can only be used for these specific uses and cannot be used to fund other projects.
The city has more than 175 miles of streets, and the tax will provide for the continued repair of four miles of road roads each year. And the tax will enable the city to keep sewer rates for all property owners as low as possible.
Voting yes to extend the tax is vital for the city to continue to provide basic services that the residents expect. Good sewers and roads facilitate growth and economic development. New retailers are moving to town, and the new owners of Quincy Place Mall are working closely with Ottumwa Economic Develop Corporation to fill the mall. Prospective investors looking the community over want to know that the infrastructure necessary to conduct commerce is up to date and safe. As residents, we want to know that our roads are safe and that the sewers meet current demand and the federal mandates.
Twenty percent of the city’s sales tax dollars come from shoppers living outside of Ottumwa and Wapello County. It makes perfect sense that using city infrastructure, regardless of where you live, is a convenience, and that cost should be shared by all.
Voting yes on Public Measure H makes sense for all concerned and is vital to our future economic health.
It could not be more clear: If you haven’t already cast an absentee ballot and you go to the polls on Tuesday, you are staking a claim in your future. If you do not vote, you will have ignored your civic responsibility and there will be absolutely no reason to complain later.
Tuesday’s election is critical in determining our collective future — whether it’s at the local, state or federal level.
And whether you choose an incumbent or a challenger, say yes or no to a ballot measure, you are indeed making your voice heard and helping to shape the future.
This election is too important to ignore, and as we’ve said before, democracy only works well when there is full participation.
The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday. Hope to see you at the polls and don’t forget — VOTE!