New Tax Levy Collection Notice May Be Confusing

The City of Forest City will soon be publishing a document that is intended to provide clarity for tax levy collection but may end up causing some confusion.

The document is required to be published by mandate from the Iowa Legislature. It requires the city to publish the amount of money to be collected in their tax levies. However, this may create confusion among taxpayers because not all of the levies are on the notification.

Taxpayers may look at the notification online or in the newspaper and misinterpret that their taxes for the year are substantially lower. Forest City Administrator Barb Smith believes this will create tremendous confusion.

The tax amount posted at the bottom of the notification includes the general fund levy and special revenues levy. The allowable increase is 2%, however, the council can vote for higher than 2%, but it would take a supermajority vote.

It does not contain the debt service levy and the capital improvement reserve levy. There are several other levies not included in the notification which will affect the end rate charged to taxpayers. These are not required by the Legislature to be posted on this form.

This transparency by the Legislature fails in the eyes of city officials. It is believed among officials that this will create challenges by taxpayers concerning their final bill.

The actual tax rate will be established at the end of the budgeting process currently underway in City Hall. Smith and other city officials are working diligently to either keep or lower the current rate.

The city plans to announce the new rate at their February 16th City Council meeting.

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