Local Option Sales Tax
On November 2, 2021, residents in unincorporated Linn County, as well as residents of Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha, Fairfax, Marion, Robins, and the portion of Walford located in Linn County will vote on whether or not to extend the one percent (1%) local option sales tax (LOST) for 10 years when it expires in 2024.
How the Funds Would be Used
Each jurisdiction has identified specific uses for the local option sales tax and would receive its own share of funding if the measure passes. These identified uses will be listed on the ballot. Linn County government would receive an estimated $6 million a year if the extension passes countywide and would use this funding as follows:
- 50% of the funds will go toward construction, maintenance, and operation of Linn County’s secondary road system
- 25% will go toward property tax relief exclusively on property located in the rural unincorporated areas of Linn County
- The remaining 25% will be used to fund Linn County Conservation projects
If voters approve the referendum, 50 percent of Linn County's portion will be used to accelerate the Secondary Road Department's 5-year plan for improvements for bridges, paved system preservation, expanding the paved road system, as well as exploring the expansion of County-provided dust control, additional rock placement, improving Secondary Road Department facilities, and using technology to better serve Linn County residents.
Linn County Conservation would continue to improve the county parks system and recreational areas, expand and improve trails, and improve park facilities such as modernizing restrooms.
Possible Outcomes of the Vote
In the November 2 vote, the contiguous cities in the Cedar Rapids metro area will vote as one, and a simple majority is required for the measure to pass. The vote in unincorporated Linn County is independent of the metro block. Because of this, there are four potential outcomes:
A: If the measure passes in unincorporated Linn County and passes metro-wide, the tax is collected in unincorporated Linn County and the metro cities, and Linn County gets a share.
B: If the measure passes in unincorporated Linn County and fails metro-wide, the tax would extend for sales in unincorporated Linn County and Linn County would receive the revenue, while it will end in the metro cities at the current sunset date in 2024. This scenario results in an overall smaller amount of funding for secondary road projects, property tax relief, and conservation projects.
C: If the measure fails in unincorporated Linn County but passes in the metro cities, the tax is collected in the cities, but not in unincorporated Linn County. This means rural residents will pay the tax when shopping in the metro cities, but Linn County will not receive any revenue from the tax and it will not be available for projects or property tax relief in the unincorporated area.
D: If the measure fails in unincorporated Linn County and fails metro-wide, the tax will end at the current sunset date in 2024.
Accomplishments to Date
Secondary Road Project Improvements
Since 2010, the Linn County Secondary Road Department has received more than $36 million in local option sales tax revenue. These funds have accelerated Linn County’s 5-year construction program by paving 106 miles of roads (30 percent of the paved system), three bridge projects, and three culvert replacement projects. The majority (94 miles) of the paving projects were concrete overlays.
More than 40 secondary road improvement projects have been funded in part by LOST revenue, including:
- Wright Brothers Blvd (Club Road to Ely Road)
- Tower Terrace Road (from Feather Ridge Road to Milburn Road)
- C Ave Ext (from County Home Road to Roosevelt Street)
- N Center Point Road (County Home Road to Center Point limits and N Center Point Road from Center Point to Benton County)
- East Post Road (from just south of Kenilworth Court to Cottage Grove Woods SE)
- County Home Road (including the addition of designated right and left turn lanes at each intersection)
- Palo Marsh Road & Lewis Bottoms Road (W36) (from bridge 1909 north to Lewis Access Road)
- Alburnett Road (from Marion city limits to Alburnett city limit)
- Jordans Grove Road (Waubeek Road to Br #831)
Linn County Conservation has used local option sales tax revenue to leverage completion of $28 million in projects, including the Mary Lundby Bridge in Pinicon Ridge Park that connects the campground to the day use park over the Wapsipinicon River; modernizing restrooms and playgrounds at Pinicon Ridge Park; trail development on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail (the Hoover section south of Cedar Rapids as well as reconstruction and paving phases north of Cedar Rapids); and the Highway 100 trail connection through Morgan Creek Park.
Property Tax Relief
Property owners in unincorporated Linn County annually receive a reduction of $1 (one dollar) per thousand of assessed value off their property taxes due to the revenue received from the local option sales tax.
The election is Tuesday, November 2, 2021. Polls will open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voter registration forms and absentee ballot request forms must be submitted to Linn County Election Services by October 18, 2021.