SPECIAL ELECTION INFORMATION
Local Option Sales and Services Tax (LOSST)
The last day to request an absentee ballot is July 26.
Ballots must be postmarked by August 5 to be counted.
What is LOSST?
Local Option Sales and Services Tax is a 1% tax that applies to transactions on certain goods and services within approved cities in the State of Iowa.
How would LOSST impact the City of Grimes?
If approved, it would raise the sales tax rate by 1% from the statewide 6% sales tax to 7% sales tax.
With the approval of LOSST, the City of Grimes would receive an estimated $1.6 million annually to use for property tax reduction, public safety facilities, library improvements, park and trail improvements, and other lawful purposes.
Do other communities in Iowa have LOSST?
Yes, according to the Iowa Department of Revenue over 96 percent of communities in Iowa have a Local Option Sales Tax. Dallas County voters in Grimes passed the tax in November 2017, and voters in multiple Polk County cities (Des Moines, West Des Moines, and Altoona) approved the tax in March 2019. Waukee and Norwalk also approved LOSST.
This means that Grimes residents are paying LOSST in many communities they visit in the Des Moines Metro and across the state. Clive, Urbandale, Johnston, are also voting on August 6.
Who can vote? When is voting?
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Eligible voters of Grimes who live in Polk County will decide on the proposed 1% Local Option Sales and Services Tax (LOSST) addition Tuesday, August 6, 2019. Voting takes place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the United Methodist Church at 801 W. 1st St. in Grimes.
You can request an absentee ballot or stop by the Polk County Auditor’s office to vote early.
Click here t0 visit the Polk County election page for more information about early voting
and poll information. The first day to request an absentee ballot is July 8 and the last day is July 26. Absentee ballots must be postmarked no later than August 5.
Request forms are available at the Grimes Library.
What would the City do with the additional LOSST revenue it receives with approval?
- 50% for property tax reduction:
50% of the revenues from the sales and services tax will be used for property tax reduction. The City Council has committed to reducing the City's portion of the consolidated property tax rate by $1.00 per $1,000 of taxable value which is a 7.8% decrease. ($12.81 to $11.81)
The average residential property in Grimes is assessed at $237,963 and would contribute $130 less to the City through property taxes annually.
The average commercial property in Grimes is assessed at $954,051 and would contribute $858 less to the City through property taxes annually.
- 50% for municipal facilities to support like the Public Library, Fire Department, Parks, Recreation, and Trails:
All expenditures will be subject to regular audit, public comment, and review.
Concept plans have been developed for each of the proposed uses.
A new library, which could cost $12 million.
A new Fire Station, which could cost $7 million.
Park and Trail improvements, which could cost $8 million.
Total projects planned could cost $27 million.
New Public Library
Today we find our community changing and growing rapidly. Like all City services, the Grimes Public Library's goals, resources, and priorities must also expand along with our community. Planning for the future is essential to meet the needs and interests of our residents. Grimes is anticipating continued population growth over the next two decades. The current library was built in 1994 to serve a population of 7,000.
A new Public Library will be needed to meet the increased demand for cultural and educational resources available to the community. In a knowledge-based society, it is vital to have a strong public library system.
Additional Fire Station
With continued population growth, there is a need for increased public safety infrastructure. Grimes has identified the need to add an additional fire station to provide our residents with the benefits of increased public safety and lower emergency response times.
Parks and Trails
Grimes Park and Trail systems can be a valued facility in a community that builds on a quality neighborhood framework to offer features that distinguish Grimes in the metropolitan region. Grimes is rapidly growing and experiencing the challenges of supplying adequate quality of life facilities for additional households. There is an emphasis on developing new park and trail facilities that meet the needs of a growing community by, enhancing the existing facilities to provide a variety of amenities but also the basic elements that each neighborhood needs, and maintaining the quality of new and existing facilities.
Frequently Asked Questions
What language will appear on the ballot?
The question on the ballot reads:
To authorize imposition of a local sales and services tax in the City of Grimes at the rate of one percent (1%) to be effective January 1, 2020.
Revenues from the sales and services tax shall be allocated as follows:
50% for property tax relief.
50% for any lawful purpose of the City, including but not limited to: Municipal facilities to support the Public Library, Fire Department, Parks, Recreation, and Trails. All expenditures will be subject to regular audit, public comment, and review.
Are there any other questions on this ballot?
No other questions are on the ballot.
Are there any other questions on this special election ballot?
No other questions are on the ballot.
Who can participate in the election?
Any eligible voter in the Polk County portion of Grimes may participate on or before August 6th.
Am I currently paying Local Option Sales and Services tax in other counties?
Yes, if you shop, eat, or visit entertainment venues in West Des Moines, Waukee, Des Moines, or Altoona, you will be paying the additional sales and services tax. 96% of communities in Iowa are utilizing the Local Option Sales Tax. Here is a statewide tax lookup.
What happens if the measure does not pass?
If the tax does not pass, shoppers would not pay the Local Option Sales Tax within Grimes. However, Grimes residents and other shoppers will pay the Local Option Sales Tax when they shop in Des Moines, Altoona, other Polk County LOSST approved cities and other cities in Iowa where LOSST has been passed.
What will this cost?
The median household income for Grimes is $92,250.
An Iowa State University economist estimates a family spends 22.2% of its household income on items subject to the sales tax.
If a family with an average income makes half of their purchases that are subject to sales tax in Grimes they will pay an additional $102 per year in sales tax. However, if they own an average home then, their overall net cost for city services will decrease by $28 per year.
When is the election and where do I vote?
Election Day is Tuesday, August 6th, 2019. Polls are open from 7:00am to 8:00pm. You can request an absentee ballot or stop by the Polk County Auditor’s office to vote early. Click here to visit the Polk County elections page for more information about early voting and poll locations.
Can I vote at home in this election or at a satellite location?
Please reference Polk County voter information here for information about voting early in-person or by mail.
Does it require support greater than 50% to pass?
Yes, 50% plus one vote of the votes cast is necessary for passage.
Will this vote impact my property taxes?
If the 1% sales tax increase does pass, the Grimes property tax levy rate will decrease by $1 per $1000. The levy rate, (as of July 1, 2019) of $12.81 will decrease to $11.81.
Who pays the additional sales tax?
The Local Option Sales Tax is paid based on point of delivery retail sales. That means anyone purchasing eligible products or services in the Polk County portion of Grimes (including visitors from outside the area) would pay the tax. Eligible products and services purchased in the Dallas County portion of Grimes already include the LOSST tax. Voters in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Altoona, Windsor Heights, Pleasant Hill, and Alleman approved LOSST in March 2019. The additional 1 cent sales tax will start being collected in those Polk County cities this July.
How much revenue will be divided among the communities in Polk County?
Based on a State Code established formula, a calculation is made using the most recent certified census population and the among of property tax levied in the early 1980s.
How much revenue will be generated from this sales tax?
According to the Iowa Department of Revenue, Grimes would receive $1.6M annually from LOSST taxes collected in Polk County.
Are LOSST taxes collected in Dallas County used the same way by the City as the LOSST taxes collected in Polk County would be?
Yes, 50% of LOSST funds collected in Dallas County are used for property tax relief. The remaining 50% may be used for capital projects including, but not limited to, Public Library, park and trail improvements, and public safety facilities.
Has this issue been on the ballot before in Polk County?
Yes, Local Option Sales Tax votes were held in Polk County in March 2018 and March 2019.
Will this tax increase only be paid by Grimes residents who live in Polk County?
No, any person—regardless of where they live—who purchases eligible products and services in the Polk County portion of Grimes would pay the additional 1% tax if approved. This includes residents of other cities in Polk County, residents of other Iowa counties, and visitors to the City.
What will this cost the average Grimes resident per-year?
Grimes residents would pay an additional one percent sales tax on eligible goods and services purchased in the Polk County portion of Clive. Assuming a family spends about 80% of its money in cities with the 1 cent LOSST tax, Iowa State University economist Dave Swenson estimates:
A family making $65,995 — the median household income for all of Polk County — would pay an additional $117 a year in sales tax.
These estimates are based on the assumption that 22.2% of household income is spent on items subject to sales tax, and that 80% of shopping is done in jurisdictions with the LOSST tax.
Note that revenue from the Local Option Sales Tax would be used by the City to help lower property taxes.
Why is the Dallas County portion of Clive not voting on Local Option Sales Tax?
Dallas County residents of Clive already voted and passed the Local Option in November 2017.
If approved, when would the Local Option Sales Tax be implemented?
If approved, the Local Option Sales Tax would become effective starting January 1, 2020.
Would LOSST be applied on all of my purchases?
No, LOSST would only be applied on purchases that are currently subject to sales tax. Food and prescription drugs are exempt from sales tax in Iowa.