Indianola port will ask for tax hike to cover maintenance

INDIANOLA — There’s a good chance Indianola residents will vote on whether to increase property taxes on the November ballot this year.

The Indianola Port Commission began weighing its options to increase its property tax levy June 4 during the regular port meeting in the Indianola Club House. The commission has the option to ask residents to increase property taxes to 22 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The port currently receives 15.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Dave Haley, an Indianola Beach Improvement Club board member, told commissioners it’s necessary to make it clear to the public the reason for increasing taxes.

“You have to make sure it passes,” Haley said. “If it doesn’t, what’s your plan?”

A special meeting to discuss the tax increase and the Indianola dock is scheduled for July 23. The port has until Aug. 6 to notify the county of its intention to have a ballot measure to increase taxes.

The discussion around increasing taxes coincides with an assessment of the Indianola dock’s pilings. About 50 percent of the dock’s piles are “compromised,” Commissioner Judith Frank said. That’s about 80 piles — at $4,000 per pile — that need to be replaced.

In order for the port replace the dock’s piles, along with other dock repairs, it will need to increase its revenue. The piles would be replaced over time, not all at once.

The port’s 2013 general fund is $41,650. It’s expected to cost more than $200,000 to do all necessary work on the dock.

Coasts and Harbors Engineering will be paid $9,000 by the port for doing a short- and long-term assessment of the work that needs to be done for the port, including the dock. The assessment is expected to be complete by July 23.

Increasing property taxes to 22 cents per year would cost an average of $19.60, according to commissioner Joan Wold.

“That’s a few lattes, or a dinner out,” Wold said. “I don’t see that would be an issue here in Indianola.”

Commissioners could ask for a one-year, six-year, or permanent tax increase. Approval of a tax increase must happen one year prior to when it will be imposed.

Commissioners need to consider what the port’s need is for more tax money, and ability to get the measure passed, Haley said. The ability to get it passed is going to be based on future expenses, he said.



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