Breaking down the levy

MASON CITY, Iowa – Mason City City Council discussed Monday wanting to see a Capital Improvement Levy kick in, budget cycle 2018.

To put the proposed Capital Improvement Levy into perspective, if the city needs to buy a new fire truck in four years that truck will cost $800,000 dollars. With a CIL in place at 20 cents, in four years that truck could be paid in full with cash.

According to Iowa code, the CIL can’t exceed .68 cents per $1,000.  City officials are hoping to combine the levy with one already in place called the Debt Service Levy.  The goal: as the debt service levy drops, which it’s expected to, the CIL will make up the difference.  The CIL is meant to pay for purchases with cash versus bonds, cutting down the cost of interest, but it’s all up to the residents of Mason City on whether to move forward.

“I think it’s important to contact us and get information from us but listen to your neighbors, listen to everybody.  Get the information from media and friends,” Councilman John Lee said.

Another way to look at it is if you’re a property owner with a $100,000 house you pay about $700 in property taxes.  With the CIL in place you’re looking to pay about $10 bucks more.  If the council votes on January 17th to have a special election on the issue, the election will be March 7th.

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