Letter to the Editor: Submitted by Ray Mullarkey

To the Editor:

I write to encourage my fellow rural Allamakee County residents to vote “yes” in the March 5 Local Option Sales and Services Tax (LOSST) election. If approved, this would extend a current tax for an additional 10 years. The county retains 60% of the funds collected in the rural areas, the remaining 40% is used by the townships for their needs. The county uses its share for secondary roads and other rural services.

Currently, townships get funds only from LOSST and property tax. If LOSST is discontinued, property taxes would have to be raised to offset the LOSST money.

I serve on the Waterville Area Fire and Rescue Board. I can tell you how desperate our first responders are for LOSST. Every township in the Waterville area levies the maximum rate Iowa allows for fire and ambulance. Even so, about 30% of our budget comes from LOSST money provided by the townships in addition to their property tax payment. Without LOSST we could still operate our departments short-term but the purchase of any new equipment would be impossible.

No one likes to raise his or her own taxes; but, I would rather pay a sales tax than a property tax. With sales tax, tourists and others who do not pay property tax get a chance to pay something for the local services they receive in our area.

Ray Mullarkey