Local Option Sales and Services Tax

What is the Local Option?

As outlined by Iowa law, local communities are able to pass a 1 cent Local Option Sales and Services Tax. Today, nearly 93% of Iowa communities have an existing Local Option that is paid at retail establishments across the state - both by those who live in the community and those visiting. Currently, Polk County and Johnson County are the only counties without the Local Option.

When do I vote?

A special election will be held Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Any eligible voter in Pleasant Hill may participate in this election. To register to vote by mail, click here. To register to vote electronically, click here

To vote by absentee ballot, complete the absentee ballot request form at the Polk County Auditor's website and mail to the Polk County Election Office at 120 2nd Ave Suite A, Des Moines IA 50309. A notice of election and list of polling places may be found at the Polk County Auditor's website.

What language will appear on the ballot?

To authorize imposition of a local sales and services tax in the City of Pleasant Hill, Iowa at the rate of one percent (1%) to be effective from July 1, 2019. A local sales and services tax shall be imposed in the City of Pleasant Hill, Iowa at the rate of one percent (1%) to be effective from July 1, 2019.

Revenues from the sales and services tax shall be allocated as follows:

     85% for property tax relief;

The specific purposes for which the revenues shall otherwise be expended are:

     15% for property tax stabilization through projects including, but not limited to, public safety, parks, recreation, trails, streets, utilities, economic development, community facilities and buildings and any lawful purposes of the City of Pleasant Hill.

How would Pleasant Hill use this revenue?

These funds would diversify the city's revenue sources, sharing the load of funding with visitors and all who shop in Polk County. 

It would provide property tax relief and address the public safety needs of our growing community by providing the necessary facilities, equipment and professional personnel for our police, fire and emergency medical services.

The City will address these public safety areas:

        Improved response times        

        Separation of adult & juvenile witnesses & suspects                    

        Secure evidence storage   

        Dedicated K-9 unit 

        Vehicle and equipment readiness

        Personnel accommodations

Learn more about public safety needs at www.pleasanthilliowa.org/publicsafety.

How would the Local Option affect property taxes?

Pleasant Hill's property tax rate has held steady for 19 years at $11.65 per $1,000 of a home's assessed value. The rate would need to increase to approximately $13.54 per $1,000 to fund necessary public safety improvements. The average home, assessed at $200,000, would see an increase of more than $200 per year.

The Local Option Sales Tax would eliminate the need to raise property taxes for these improvements.

Who pays the tax?

The sales tax applies to everyone, including visitors (non-Polk County resident), who makes purchases at a retail establishment or uses a contracted service in Polk County. In 2017, according to a report commissioned by Catch Des Moines, 13.7 million visitors (non-Polk County resident) spent $838 million in Greater Des Moines.

If approved, when would the Local Option Sales Tax be implemented?

If approved, the Local Option Sales Tax would become effective July 1, 2019.

Do other Cities have the Local Option?

Yes, according to the Iowa Department of Revenue 948 out of 971 (97 percent) communities in Iowa have a Local Option Sales Tax. Dallas County passed the Local Option in November of 2017 and is now collecting the additional 1%. This means Polk County residents are already paying Local Option Sales Tax in many communities they may visit across the state - such as Jordan Creek Town Center. Some Polk County Cities already implement the Local Option Sales Tax. Mitchellville receives $87,000/month.

How will the City account for funds received through the Local Option?

Funds will be accounted for in annual budget reporting.

Is anything excluded from this sales tax?

Yes. You will not pay the local option on groceries, prescriptions, gasoline, utilities, vehicles, and hotel/motel rentals. For a full list of taxable services and products, visit the Iowa Department of Revenue.

How much revenue will be generated?

It is estimated Pleasant Hill would receive $1.4 Million.

Does the measure need to pass in every city or county-wide?

Last session, the Iowa Legislature eliminated the contiguous cities (cities that share borders) of Polk County requirement and now the City of Pleasant Hill does not have to vote together with other cities as a block. If the vote passes in Pleasant Hill (50 percent of the votes plus one), the tax will be implemented on July 1, 2019.