The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


August 30, 2013

LEVINE: Be ready for upcoming elections


The second measure will ask voters to increase their taxes by allowing the city to add a capital projects tax levy, resulting in another 0.675 mills added to their taxes from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2039.

Obviously, those measures don’t harken back to George H. W. Bush’s 1988 promise of “no new taxes.” We all know how that worked out.

Once again, the city has a conundrum of how to afford mandated sewer work. And it will once again be on the back of the taxpayer, which is already weighed down by the highest sewer rates in the state, high property taxes, high assessments on homes, escalating water and solid waste bills...I could go on, but I think you get my point.

If the first measure fails, the road reconstruction project that has done well and improved local streets, will likely cease to exist, pushing $1.5 million over to sewer work.

In a previous column I wrote months ago, I said that although the road work has been a success for the City Council, I could live without it as long as my rates don’t go up anymore. Streets are important, but becoming competitive on being an affordable place to live is more important. The more people we can attract, the more people we will have to pay taxes, thus funding more work to our sewers and streets (sounds much easier than it actually is).

Lastly, the second measure, which would be another tax hike, doesn’t appear likely to happen in my opinion, so I hope there’s a backup at City Hall if that doesn’t go through.

And that may be the most important factor of these measures — the city needs a backup. And if they’re willing to ask us (the citizens) to raise our taxes, forcing us to trim back on our expenses, there should be a detailed plan on how the city will curb expenses.

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With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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