Local city administrators fear loss of state revenues as budget season approaches

New Hartford City Clerk Shawna Hagen (left) and city employee Kenny Coates (right) review infrastructure plans at city hall late last week. New Hartford, Aplington and Parkersburg are all expected to lose thousands of dollars in backfill revenue from the state as a result of recent budget cuts. (Robert Maharry/Eclipse News-Review photo)

Tax cuts almost always sound great on paper, but they’re rarely passed with the long term implications in mind. Now, city officials in Aplington, Parkersburg and New Hartford are scrambling to find a solution amidst news that the state is unlikely to backfill revenues lost as a result of the 2013 commercial property tax relief legislation.

“It sounds like it’s a done deal. It sounds like it’s going away,” New Hartford City Clerk Shawna Hagen said. “Anytime you lose any property taxes, it affects everybody... every penny matters.”

When the legislature first passed the reductions—which gradually changed the percentage of valuation taxed from 100 to 90 for businesses, railroads, telecommunications and multi-residential properties— cities and counties received the full difference back from the state. Between the Eclipse News-Review ’s three primary communities, that amounted to nearly $30,000 combined during the most recent fiscal year.

The funds pay for services like police protection, parks, road maintenance and other general expenses. The city officials did not name any specific projects that could suffer as a result of the loss, but they remain wary of what it could mean down the road.

“There’s nothing we can do now other than talk to our legislators and say that these little rural Iowa communities need to survive, and part of that money is from the state,” Aplington City Clerk Deb Prier said.

Read the full story in the March 7 edition.