Local Option Sales and Service Tax (LOSST)

About Local Option Sales and Service Tax (LOSST) 

The City of Windsor knows that residents will have some questions regarding the upcoming Local Option Sales and Services Tax (LOSST) vote in March. The City Council approved Windsor Height’s ballot language for the 1% LOSST vote at the December 18, 2017 council meeting.  

If approved, the LOSST revenue could be used to support property tax relief and a variety of capital improvement projects that the City of Windsor Heights has been planning and discussing over the past number of years. 

The City of Windsor Heights encourages you to go to the polls on March 6 to vote at the special election, to weigh in on whether the City of Windsor Heights should have LOSST as a revenue source for property tax relief and the city projects.

Important Dates

Please attend these informational meetings to learn about how LOSST can be used in Windsor Heights:

January 2nd - at 6:00 PM at the Council Meeting
January 8th -  at 5:30 PM at the City News Hour
January 15th - at 6:00 PM at the Council Meeting
January 29th -  at 5:30 PM at the council chambers
February 5th -  at 6:00 PM at the Council Meeting
February 12th -  at 6:00 PM at the Council Meeting
February 19th -  at 6:00 PM at the Council Meeting
February 26th- at 5:30 PM at the council chambers

Frequent Asked Questions

Why is the Local Option Sales Tax appearing on the ballot?

This is appearing due to resolutions received from cities and letters by Polk County residents to place the referendum on the ballot.

What language will appear on the ballot?

This is the language as it will appear on the ballot: 

No less than 50% of such revenues to be allocated for property tax relief.

50% of such revenues for purposes including infrastructure, but not limited to, street improvements, sanitary sewer improvements, storm water improvements, municipal buildings, recreational/sports complexes, community center, trails,  parks, arts, cultural amenities, and for other public uses the city deems appropriate.

 Are there any other questions on this March ballot?

No other referendum questions will appear on the ballot.

Who can participate in the election?

Any eligible voter in Windsor Heights may participate on or before March 6th.

When is the election and where do I vote?

Election Day is Tuesday, March 6th. Polls are open from 7:00am to 8:00pm. The voting location for Windsor Heights residents is Windsor Heights Community Center, 6900 School St and the Windsor Heights Lutheran Church, 1240 66th St. You can also request an absentee ballot or stop by the Polk County Auditor’s office to vote early. Click here to visit the Polk County Election office page for more information.

Does it require support of greater than 50% to pass?

Yes, the LOSST referendum requires support of 51% of Polk County.

Will this vote impact my property taxes?

This vote will not increase your property taxes, but could provide property tax relief as stated in the City’s revenue purpose statement noted above in the ballot language.

Who pays the additional sales tax?

The Local Option Sales Tax is paid based on point of delivery of retail sales in Polk County. That means a resident of Polk County, or any visitor from outside the area, would pay this tax at retail establishments in Polk County.

How much revenue will be generated from this sales tax?

Based on the 2016 data from the Iowa Department of Revenue, if the Local Option Sales Tax is approved by every city and unincorporated area in Polk County it is estimated to generate approximately $80.735 million in revenue annually.

How will the revenue be divided among the communities in Polk County?
Based on the State Code-established formula, a calculation is made using the most recent certified census population (75%) and the amount of property taxes levied in the early 1980’s (25%) within the County. If all cities and county areas approve the local option sales tax, the below is the distribution of local option sales tax revenue for each governmental entity.

Polk County/Unincorporated Area       14.35%

City of West Des Moines 8.87%

City of Urbandale 7%

City of Des Moines 47.14%

City of Clive 2.11%

City of Windsor Heights   1.08%

If this passes, how much revenue will Windsor Heights receive?

Based on 2016 sales tax figures, Windsor Heights is estimated to receive approximately $900,000 in revenue annually.

Do any other communities in Iowa have a Local Option Sales Tax?

Yes, according to the Iowa Department of Revenue 1,277 out of 1,373 (93 percent) communities in Iowa have a Local Option Sales Tax. This means Polk County residents are already paying Local Option Sales Tax in many communities that they visit across the state.

What does Windsor Heights plan to do with any Local Option Sales Tax revenue it receives?

Revenue from the Local Option Sales Tax could help Windsor Heights hold the line on property taxes in the city and provide additional funding for capital projects.

Has this issue been on the ballot before in Polk County?

No, it has never been on the ballot due to the contiguous cities requirement.

Will the Local Option Sales Tax increase only be paid by Polk County residents?

No, any visitor to Polk County retail and service businesses that charge sales tax would also be charged the 1% Local Option Sales Tax if approved. Currently, Windsor Heights residents pay a Local Option Sales Tax when visiting many other Iowa cities.

If approved, when would the Local Option Sales Tax be implemented?
If approved, the Local Option Sales Tax would become effective starting July 1, 2018.

LOSST Update Infographic