The Kirkwood Institute is helping Indianola, Iowa taxpayers in a challenge to how the city is using local option sales tax dollars. Voters approved the local option sales tax and put limitations on what the money could be used for. Voters approved improvements to public safety facilities, public works, and street maintenance.
The city is working on a downtown beautification project called the "Streetscape project." When the city received the only bid for the project it was $2 million over budget. Instead of going back to find ways to save money the city council voted to make up the shortfall by taking the money from the fund designated to replace the wastewater treatment facility.
Rebuilding the wastewater treatment facility is clearly "public works." But paying for trees, shrubs, and park benches is not. The city council's action means that taxpayers will end up paying more for the wastewater treatment facility because the council misdirected the funds.
The Kirkwood Institute has helped Indianola residents file a petition to challenge the action. The city will have to justify its decision before the State Appeal Board. Kirkwood Institute will be there to advocate for taxpayers.