As a private organization dedicated to promoting economic development in Johnston and Northwest Polk County, we dedicate most of our time and effort to helping developers and business owners thrive and grow in our community. But we also pay attention to other important factors like the quality of life and our business climate – including our community tax policy. Generally, it is better to have a consistent policy, and one that is favorable when compared with our neighboring communities.

This spring, the Johnston City Council adopted a budget that is based on a property tax levy of $11.65 per $1,000.00 of valuation. It would benefit Johnston property owners if this rate was lower.

On August 6, Johnston residents will have the opportunity to change the property tax rate when they consider a ballot issue to increase the local option sales and services tax. The ballot measure would increase sales and service tax by 1-cent. Passing the tax in Johnston would qualify the city for a portion of the revenue generated, estimated by the Department of Revenue to be $3.25 million. 

How would the sales tax measure affect the property tax rate? The ballot issue specifies that, if adopted, “at least fifty percent (50%) to be allocated for property tax relief.” According to Johnston City Administrator Jim Sanders, the passage of the sales tax measure would effectively reduce the property tax rate by one full dollar, beginning July 1, 2020. The actual tax rate would be determined when the City’s FY 2021 budget is set, but it is expected that the new rate would be around $10.65 if the sales tax measure is passed. That would keep the City tax rate competitive with other area communities.

Several other Des Moines communities have previously passed the measure (Des Moines, Alleman, Altoona, Pleasant Hill, West Des Moines and Windsor Heights), and other communities also have it on the ballot next month (Clive, Grimes, Johnston, and Urbandale).

For more information, visit the City of Johnston web site.

The Johnston Economic Development Corporation does not endorse or oppose ballot issues. We do encourage our members and partners to be informed and to vote in their respective communities.