City Council Eyes March Special Election

By CHARLIE COMFORT

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The Oskaloosa City Council is actively considering calling for a special election for voters to consider an increase to the Oskaloosa Hotel-Motel Tax. The current tax was approved by voters on Nov. 3, 1998, at a rate of 5%. Since then, funds raised by the tax have been designated for recreational use, and have since been directed to MCRF.

A proposal by the City would raise the tax to 7%, which would bring the City in-line with approximately 90% of other communities in the state that have a hotel-motel tax.
According to City Manager Michael Schrock, the City would like to proceed with a special election as soon as possible, with a March date being preferred. He added that the County would need to be notified by early January if the Council wished to proceed forward with a special election in January.

Schrock during the Nov. 16 City Council meeting that an increase to the hotel-motel tax would not be an increase on Oskaloosa property tax rates. Rather, it would be a tax that would be assessed on anyone who stays at a hotel in Oskaloosa.

Schrock added that it was the recommendation of the City to not change the 5% rate that currently goes towards MCRF. Instead, the City would likely use the 2% increase for tourism and economic development purposes.

If the Council were to seek voter approval in March, and it be approved, the tax increase would go into effect in July 2021. Any special election held after that date would result in a tax increase in 2022.

Schrock noted that the City would be on the hook for a cost of a special election, which would be well over $6,000.

During the discussion on the item, Council members expressed support for calling a special election, and for increasing the hotel-motel tax. Ultimately, however, not decisions on calling a special election were made.
In other action, the Council:
• Approved a site plan for Scooters Drive-Thru Coffee Kiosk, located at 504 A Ave West.
• Approved a resolution levying special assessment against properties for grass and weed cutting violations.
• Approved a resolution accepting completion of the 3rd Ave East Pavement Rehabilitation Project.
• Approved the second reading of an ordinance to disband the Oskaloosa Housing Trust Fund Committee.

The next regular meeting of the Oskaloosa City Council will be held on Dec. 7, at 6 p.m.

Posted by on Nov 17 2020. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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