This past week the Ways and Means Committee of the Iowa House agreed, along party lines, to advance HSB 165 (now HF 773). The measure would replace tax levy limits with a “soft cap” of 2 percent growth in tax revenues. If approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor, this bill would have a drastic impact on our community.
Services which fall under this “soft cap” include police, fire and our ambulance service. Also included are the transit system, parks, swimming pools, the libraries, the Art Center and the Public Museum.
In the first year of the proposed rule, our limited 2 percent growth won’t even pay for the projected increases to police, fire and ambulance service. This will mean cuts to the city's other services.
In the recently approved fiscal year 2020 budget, the City Council reduced tax revenue and approved the lowest tax levy in 18 years. The city of Sioux City does not need the state of Iowa managing our budget. We understand our community’s wants and needs much better than someone is Des Moines.
Recently, we have added two police officers and added ambulance service. Under the proposed rules, this would not have been possible.
Also, in the past year, the state changed reimbursement rules for para-transit and the city had to pay an additional $450,000 to provide these services instead of the state. Under the proposed rule, the city would have had to reduce all transit service to pay for the change or would have had to increase transit fares.
Just this last week we received our bond rating from Standard’s & Poor’s, a national bond rating service. The report stated, “We view the city's management as very strong, with strong financial policies and practices under our FMA methodology, indicating financial practices are strong, well embedded, and likely sustainable.”
Does this sound like out-of-control spending?
We need you the citizens of Sioux City to help us defeat this bill. Please contact Gov. Kim Reynolds, our state senators and our state representatives and let them know that the City Council has been elected to manage our city.
Thank you for helping us keep our city financially strong. - Rhonda Capron, member, Sioux City Council