Voters in Hamilton County will be going to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether or not to renew the Local Option Sales and Service Tax scheduled to expire in 2012.
The measure was on the ballot for the November 2010 election. Several communities in Hamilton County passed the measure at that time. However, the renewal failed in Webster City, Stratford, Ellsworth and the unincorporated areas of Hamilton County.
The LOSST was originally voted in to help pay off the new county jail. When that project was finished, the funds were made available for other projects to benefit the residents of Hamilton County.
Here's a few points of information about the LOSST Renewal:
Notice the word "renewal." It is not a new tax. It has been in place for nearly 10 years.
In Webster City, the revenues are to be used for streets, water and sewer line maintenance and repairs. These funds cannot be used for any other purpose.
In fiscal year 2009-2010, 46 percent of the road repairs and maintenance in Webster City came from LOSST funds. That totals more than $600,000.
More than 65 percent of the LOSST revenue comes from people who don't reside in Hamilton County.
Hamilton County officials have a slightly broader proposed use statement that includes 25 percent for property tax relief and the remainder for any lawful purpose including but not limited to county-owned asset maintenance or other capital projects. Hamilton County supervisors have said by not narrowing the scope, they will be more prepared for the as yet unknown needs of the next 10 years.
The Daily Freeman-Journal enthusiastically supports the renewal of the LOSST in Webster City, Stratford, Ellsworth and Hamilton County. As our federal government and legislators struggle to get a handle on the debt-ceiling and cutting spending practices, it only makes sense that municipal and county entities look to other sources of revenue, such as the LOSST, to fund projects to help better their communities.
We urge you to take the time to go to the polls and vote "Yes" on Tuesday for the renewal of the Local Option Sales and Service Tax.