Allamakee County voters to determine future of Local Option Sales Tax

by Bob Beach

Voters in Allamakee County will head to the polls Tuesday, August 5 to determine the future of the Local Option Sales and Service Tax (LOSST), a one-percent tax on sales and services. The tax is nothing new - most jurisdictions in the County have a ten-year "sunset date" on the one-cent sales tax, the only exception being the City of Lansing. Voters in all other towns and townships will be asked whether or not the tax should be renewed for another ten years and to approve how the resulting revenues will be spent.

Absentee voting in Allamakee County for the August 5 Local Option Sales and Services Tax (LOSST) election is now available in the Auditor’s Office at the Allamakee County Courthouse, located at 110 Allamakee Street in Waukon. Voters can also get an absentee ballot request form by calling the Auditor’s office at 563-568-3522 or by going online to, scrolling down and clicking on Request Absentee Ballot on the right side of the screen.
Polls will be open for the election August 5 from Noon until 8 p.m. Voters can vote absentee in the Auditor’s Office up until 11 a.m. the day of the election.

Polls will be open Tuesday, August 5 from 12 noon to 8 p.m. Polling places are listed below:
Waterloo and Hanover Townships - St. Mary's Church, Dorchester.
French Creek, Jefferson, Ludlow, Makee and Union Prairie Townships - Waukon Banquet Center.
City of Waukon (all three wards) - Northeast Iowa Community College/Waukon Wellness Center.
City of Postville (Allamakee residents only), Franklin and Post Townships - Turner Hall.
City of Waterville, Linton and Paint Creek Townships - Waterville City Hall.
City of Harpers Ferry, Fairview and Taylor Townships - Harpers Ferry Community Center.
Center, Lafayette and Lansing Townships - Kerndt Brothers Savings Bank Community Center. Note that residents of the City of Lansing will not be voting in this election.
City of New Albin, Iowa and Union City Townships - New Albin Community Center.

City Councils determine how local option sales tax revenues will be spent if the tax passes the vote in the their respective jurisdictions. The Board of Supervisors determines how revenues collected in rural townships will be distributed.
In the case of the rural townships, 40% of LOSST revenues will be distributed directly to the townships to help with their financial responsibilities, 30% will be deposited into the County Rural Services Fund and 30% will be used for construction and repair of secondary roads.
The City of Waukon will use 100% of LOSST revenues for reconstruction, repair and replacement of existing streets, curbs, storm sewers and water mains and other structures as they relate to streets within the city limits.
In Waterville, 40% percent of LOSST revenues will be deposited into the City's general fund, 40% will be used for public safety and street repairs and 20% will be used for sewer system maintenance.
In the City of Postville, 50% of LOSST revenues will be used for public safety and 50% will be used for street repairs, replacement and improvements.
The City of Harpers Ferry will use 100% of LOSST revenues for street repairs, replacement and improvements.
The City of New Albin will use LOSST revenues to provide property tax relief by depositing 100% of revenues collected into the City's general fund.

The Cities of Postville, Waterville and Harpers Ferry were the first in Allamakee County to approve the one-percent Local Option Sales and Service Tax in November of 1994 with a four-year sunset date. The City of Waukon approved the tax in October of 1995 and the rural townships in the county followed suit in July of 1997. The remaining jurisdictions of New Albin and Lansing approved the tax for the first time in November of 1998.
Waterville, Harpers Ferry and Postville voted to renew the tax the in November of 1998. The Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance in December of 1998 making LOSST effective from January 1, 2000 until December 31, 2004. In March of 2004, all jurisdictions voted to renew the tax with a 10-year sunset date, with the exception of the City of Lansing, which set a sunset date of five years. In August of 2009, the City of Lansing renewed the tax with no sunset date.
In the upcoming election scheduled for Tuesday, August 5, all jurisdictions holding elections include a 10-year sunset provision, with the exception of the community of Harpers Ferry, which will not include a sunset provision.