Mayors favor Aug. 6 county-wide LOST election

Posted April 11, 2013 at 5:00 am

By Julie Ann Madden

At a special public forum with mayors in Plymouth County and other officials, it was unanimous by a show of hands what date and expiration date selected for a Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) election.

All joined together in supporting the City of Le Mars’ need for having the election Aug. 6 and having a 15-year expiration date on this LOST tax.

Le Mars councilors requested the special Aug. 6 election to secure funding for a Floyd Valley Hospital capital project. The date will allow them the most advantageous opportunities at bid letting time.

Plymouth County Supervisors had already consented to join in asking their constituents for the LOST tax, which is a 1 percent sales and services tax. They plan to use a majority of this tax revenue for road and bridge repairs in the unincorporated areas of the county.

However, Supervisors Craig Anderson and Don Kass favored having the LOST tax added to city elections’ Nov. 5 ballots because each city will have to hold and pay for their own election. There would be some cost savings to having just one election since municipalities had not budgeted for this election.

“We’d sure like to help you with this because if the big cities don’t pass it, the little cities aren’t going to get money from it,” said Struble Mayor Joe Vollmecke, whose town has the LOST levy with no expiration date so his town’s residents won’t vote on it. “We wish we could vote (on this).”

“I think it’s really important (cities with the LOST without an expiration date) are supportive to the venue in general because you have a lot of rural residents who will come to your town and visit about this at the coffee shops, city council meetings or wherever,” said Supervisor Craig Anderson, “and I think it’s important to our entire county that we do this one time, do it right, do it professionally.”

“All you’ve got to do is explain to the people…how you as responsible people spent the money and they will reinstate this,” said Vollmecke.

Last year alone, the following entities receive these LOST dollars:

Akron $145,331

Brunsville 14,329

Craig 8,374

Hinton 89,233

Kingsley 137,357

Le Mars 988,789

Merrill 69,651

Oyens 9,561

Remsen 162,639

Struble 6,731

Westfield 11,591

and the Unincorporated Areas in Plymouth County received $1,070,315.

The timeline for meeting legal deadlines for an Aug. 6 election include:

• Councils must declare their intent to have an Aug. 6 election and get either a copy of the minutes where they take this action or a copy of a resolution they pass to Plymouth County Auditor Stacey Feldman by May 14.

• Next, councilors must get their purpose statement, which is what they plan on spending the LOST levy for, to Feldman by May 31.

Only the 2001 towns of Akron, Le Mars and Remsen need to consider this as the towns which passed the LOST with no expiration dates do not have to participate unless they want to change their purpose statements.

According to Akron Public Works Director Gary Horton, who attended this forum, the council will vote on having the Aug. 6 election later this month.

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