Local option sales tax on Ottumwa ballot this November

This election season, Ottumwa voters will have the option to vote "yes" or "no" on the local option sales tax.

It's a tax that has been in place in Wapello County since 2004 and 54% of the revenue goes towards road and sewer repairs. The tax also currently goes towards paying off the Bridge View Center debt.

If the tax is passed this November, residents will see a 10% reduction in property taxes and the remaining balance will go toward the continued improvement of Ottumwa's streets.

"We really need this passed because the number one complaint we get are the streets and we've been trying to be very aggressive the last six, seven years on doing street work," said Joe Helfenberger, Ottumwa City Administrator. "We've done about four miles a year on street work reconstruction. To do less than that would be setting us back quite a bit."

Helfenberger said the city does around $1 million in street repairs each year, and the amount of improvements done each year would be significantly reduced without the local option sales tax.

The League of Women's Voters will be holding a forum at Ottumwa City Hall regarding the local option sales tax in each town in Wapello County. Representatives from Eldon, Agency and Ottumwa, among others, will speak on what the tax is for in each town and take questions from the public. That forum will be held on November 1 at 7:00 p.m.