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Council paves way for LOST

By Staff | May 6, 2008

By unanimous approval, members of the Estherville City Council Monday passed a resolution calling for a public referendum to authorize the imposition of a local option sales and service tax in the city of Estherville at the rate of 1 percent.

Speaking on behalf of the Excel! Estherville committee, George Shadle said asking for the consideration of the resolution which requires a special election.

“Communities throughout Iowa have been using the local option sales tax to fund improvements in their communities for many years. For whatever reason, Estherville has not chosen to do so. This means we are not making the same investment in community betterment as most other Iowa communities.”

Currently Armstrong and Ringsted utilize the tax for community betterment purposes.

With passage of the resolution, the city council is requesting the Emmet County Commissioner of Elections submit to the voters in Emmet County a proposition authorizing the local sales and service tax in the City of Estherville at 1 percent.

Shadle explained that every jurisdiction in the county which currently does not have this 1 percent sales tax will vote on the issue. Each jurisdiction would need its own simple majority vote for approval of the one-cent sales tax.

The Excel! Estherville group offered the following points for consideration:

n Provides the city and county with extra funds for budget flexibility.

n Provides much needed funding for community betterment which has been lacking.

n Allows the opportunity to collect 1 percent from those living outside the county who make purchases in Estherville.

n Funds spent for community betterment projects will multiply as they are expended in the community.

n The county benefits with a new source of revenue if passed in the unincorporated area.

n Represents a fair form of tax … those that spend more, pay more.

n Does not adversely affect local merchants as all surrounding cities and towns already have the tax in place.

n Does not burden the purchase of essential services as most are exempt.

n New community projects will bring more people to the community and increase spending and would then increase the income to city and county governments.

Shadle also explained the proposed distribution of revenue as the city of Estherville would receive about

$200,000 (40 percent) in support of the general fund while the new community betterment programs/projects would receive an estimated $300,000 or 60 percent.

The earliest date possible for this special election would be Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008. Estherville City Administrator Steve Woodley said a certified copy of the resolution would be hand-delivered to the Emmet County Auditor on Tuesday, May 6, 2008.

In other business, the council:

n Set a public hearing for Monday, May 19 at 5 p.m. to amend the 2007-08 Fiscal Year Budget.

n Voted to return Resolution No. 3-2008 to the Estherville Planning and Zoning Commission for reconsideration. The measure deals with special use screening requirements and special exception uses permitted in the highway commercial district.

n Rescheduled the South Sixth Street reconstruction project to Fiscal Year 2010, moved necessary repairs to the adjacent alleyways in FY2009 and gave South Sixth Street owners 12 months to remove canopies.

n Made the decision the entire Estherville City Council and Mayor Lyle Hevern will be involved in the process of finding a replacement for Woodley who is retiring.

n Appointed Steve Erickson to the airport commission for a six-year term.

n Approved a sign permit for Northwest Bank at 1119 Central Ave.

n Approved a sign permit application for Collectibles located at 220 South First St.