Local Option Sales Tax Referendum

Dallas County Local Option Sales & Services Tax (LOSST)

To answer some quick questions regarding the upcoming Local Option Sales and Services Tax (LOSST) vote in November.  Back in August the City Council approved Van Meter’s ballot language for the 1% LOSST vote.  A citizens petition was submitted to the Dallas County Board of Supervisors in late July asking for a 1% LOSST vote to be held in Dallas County on Election Day, November 7.  Once the Board of Supervisors accepted the petition they requested each city within Dallas County to submit ballot language for their communities by August 15

The ballot language the the Van Meter City Council approved is as follows:


Summary:  To authorize imposition of a local sales and services tax in the City of Van Meter at the rate of one percent (1%) to be effective on July 1, 2018.

Revenues from the sales and services tax shall be allocated as follows:

25% for property tax relief,

75% for any lawful purpose of the City, including but not limited to: Water, sewer, and street infrastructure. Curb, gutter and other storm water projects. Parks and trails. Recreation, library, and public safety facilities.”

On November 7 – Dallas County LOSST election is held in conjuction with the regular city elections.  Voting open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM.  The voting location for Van Meter residents is the Veterans Reception Center at 910 Main Street in Van Meter.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is the Local Option Sales Tax appearing on the ballot?This is appearing due to a petition by Dallas County residents to place the referendum on the ballot. The cities of Perry and Dawson are seeking a renewal of their existing Local Option Sales Tax, which has triggered a countywide vote in Dallas County.
  2. Are there any other questions on this November ballot?No other referendum questions will appear on the ballot. However there will be local city elections for three Van Meter City Council-members.
  3. Does this have to pass in every city or just county-wide?Each city’s vote is independent of the others. The Local Option Sales Tax, will only be collected in, and distributed to, those that approve it.
  4. Will this vote impact my property taxes?This vote will not increase your property taxes, but would provide property tax relief as stated in the City’s revenue purpose statement noted above in the ballot language. 
  5. Who pays the additional sales tax?The Local Option Sales Tax is paid based on point of delivery retail sales in Dallas County. That means a resident of Dallas County, or any visitor from outside the area, would pay this tax at retail establishments in Dallas County.
  6. How much revenue will be generated from this sales tax?Based on the 2016 data from the Iowa Department of Revenue, if the Local Option Sales Tax is approved by every city and unincorporated area in Dallas County it is estimated to generate approximately $12.2 million in revenue annually.
  7. Where will be the sales tax be collected, which communities? 
    The following shows the percentage of taxable sales in Dallas County based on 2016 data:

    • City of West Des Moines                                            62%
    • City of Waukee                                                            19%
    • City of Perry                                                                 8%
    • City of Adel                                                                   5%
    • Clive                                                                               1%
    • Dallas Center                                                               1%
    • Van Meter                                                                     1%
    • Granger                                                                         1%
    • Bouton                                                                           1%
    • Other Dallas County Cities & County Area           1% combined
  8. How will the revenue be divided among the communities in Dallas County? 
    Based on the State Code-established formula, a calculation is made using the most recent certified census population (75%) and the amount of property taxes levied in the early 1980’s (25%) within the County.  If all cities and county areas approve the local option sales tax, the below is the distribution of local option sales tax revenue for each governmental entity.

    • Dallas County/Unincorporated Area           27%
    • City of Waukee                                                   16%
    • City of Perry                                                       13%
    • City of West Des Moines                                  13%
    • City of Urbandale                                              7%
    • City of Adel                                                          6%
    • City of Clive                                                         5%
    • City of Dallas Center                                         2%
    • Other Dallas County Cities Combined          11%
  9. If this passes county-wide, how much revenue will Van Meter receive?Based on 2016 sales tax figures, Van Meter is estimated to receive approximately $160,000 in revenue annually.
  10. Do any other communities in Iowa have a Local Option Sales Tax?Yes, according to the Iowa Department of Revenue 1,277 out of 1,373 (93 percent) communities in Iowa have a Local Option Sales Tax. This means Dallas County residents are already paying Local Option Sales Tax in many communities that they visit across the state. 
  11. What does Van Meter plan to do with any Local Option Sales Tax revenue it receives?The current Mayor and City Council members have stated that they would like to lower the City’s property tax rate and stabilize water rates. In addition the Council has specified that the funds may be used for: Water, sewer, and street infrastructure. Curb, gutter and other storm water projects. Parks and trails. Recreation, library, and public safety facilities.
  12. Has this issue been on the ballot before in Dallas County?Yes, the last time a Local Option Sales Tax vote was held in Dallas County was in 2007.
  13. Will the Local Option Sales Tax increase only be paid by Dallas County residents?No, any visitor to Dallas County retail and service businesses that charge sales tax would also be charged the 1% Local Option Sales Tax if approved. Currently, Van Meter residents pay a Local Option Sales Tax when visiting many other Iowa cities.
  14. What will this cost the average Van Meter resident per-year?Van Meter residents will pay an additional one percent sales tax at retail establishments in Dallas County. However, revenue from the Local Option Sales Tax will be used to reduce the City’s property tax rate, stabilize water rates and otherwise support capital improvements for our community.
  15. If approved, when would the Local Option Sales Tax be implemented? 
    If approved, the Local Option Sales Tax would become effective starting July 1, 2018.