NEW HAMPTON, Iowa – “We’re not putting up with it anymore,” exclaims Linda, a New Hampton resident.
The Chickasaw county Courthouse was packed with people who were there to protest a significant property tax increase.
In a 3-2 vote the county board of Supervisors approved a 2014 budget that raises the tax levy 22%.
“Over the last 25-26 years our average increase in taxes was around 1-2% well now in just one year they want to raise it 22% in one year that just is absurd,” adds another New Hampton resident.
This protest is against the county board is led by a former board member Arnie Boge. He collected 550 taxpayers’ signatures which brought this appeal hearing about.
Current members say Arnie’s protest is inappropriate.
“I think our previous supervisors led the charge on this, thinking that 22% increase is out of the ordinary when in fact when he was on the board they incurred a 33% increase,” says Board Chair Richard Holdhaus.
Holdhaus says the increase is needed to offset a jump in health insurance costs for county employees. But clearly, that reason isn’t going over well with those who attended this meeting, who say the increase is not affordable.
“We need to do something now because taxes are high and the economy is not that good right now and we just, we need to address it before people lose their farms,” says Carolyn Nelson who signed the petition.
A three member panel from the state listened to each side as well as comments from the audience. They will be making a decision regarding the appeal by the end of the month.
So many members of the community showed up to the hearing that at one point during the presentation there was discussion of moving to a larger venue.