Some Linn County voters will go back to the polls a couple months from now to reconsider a one percent increase in their local sales tax. The majority of Linn County, including Cedar Rapids, passed a one penny per dollar increase in sales tax one week ago. But the tax hike was defeated in Marion, Hiawatha, Robins, Walford, and Center Point.
On Monday, the Cedar Rapids City Council gave the green light for a new vote in those cities. If the other cities approve the tax, the amount Cedar Rapids receives would drop. But, Mayor Kay Halloran says it’s important for communities in the county to work together. "If we start picking fights with our next door neighbor, if you will, it’s not going to be good for anybody," Halloran said.
"They still have to get the votes. We haven’t done anything for them particularly. We’ve given them the opportunity to do something for themselves." Cedar Rapids was required to call for the election because it contains at least half of Linn County’s population. Cedar Rapids is expected to receive about 19-million dollars annually for about five years from the new tax.
Marion Mayor Paul Rehn believes people were confused about what they were voting for last week. "I would feel much better if it was defeated again knowing that we had made a good effort to get all the facts out and the people were voting on all of the true facts as opposed to a lot of the misinformation that was out there the first time," Rehn said.
Supporters say most of the money raised from the added tax would be directed at flood relief projects. The new vote is May 5th, the same day voters in Johnson County consider a similar tax increase.