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Cities prepare new projects as sales tax rises


A 1-cent local option sales tax approved in several cities in March takes effect Monday and will immediately offset some property tax and fuel services and projects.

Voters in Alleman, Altoona, Des Moines, Pleasant Hill, West Des Moines and Windsor Heights approved the sales tax, which was already in effect in much of the metro and large parts of the rest of the state. 

In Des Moines, the measure drew support from 70% of voters and will generate $37 million a year for city services that had been strained by tight budgets over the years. State law requires cities to use at least half of the money to offset property taxes. In Des Moines, the rest will pay for infrastructure upgrades, public safety enhancements and neighborhood improvements.

The Des Moines City Council set the lowest city tax levy of the past seven years, though sharp increases in assessments in some areas will mean higher property tax bills in those areas. A property tax bill also includes levies from the county, the school district and other taxing authorities.

Des Moines is restoring some library hours that were cut earlier, and will keep 13 firefighter positions that were originally created with federal grant money. 

About a third of the money will come from visitors.

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