Asbury council moves forward with property tax decrease

ASBURY, Iowa — Asbury City Council members this week approved a decrease in the city portion of the property tax rate for the 2022 fiscal year, though residential homeowners still might see their bills rise.

Council members unanimously approved setting the maximum property tax levy at $9.50 per $1,000 of taxable valuation. They previously discussed lowering the levy from its current rate of $9.57 to $9.35, but they opted to meet in the middle instead.

“I am all for lowering taxes, but what concerns me is we have some big projects coming up in the next few years,” Council Member John Richey said.

Under the new rate, a resident with a home assessed at $200,000 actually would pay about $17 more per year on the city portion of their taxes because of changes to the state’s residential rollback factor that will increase the percentage of a property’s value that is taxed.

The levy will be finalized after council members finish their budget process next month.

Council members also voted, 3-2, to solicit bids for a $2 million project to reconstruct driveways, curbs and gutters on the west portion of Summer Drive.

Russ Domeyer and Bob Reisch voted against the measure. Both said they wanted to wait to seek bids until after a public hearing scheduled for March 23.

The project was shot down earlier this year after more than 75% of affected landowners signed a petition opposing it and Domeyer voted against it. The council needed a unanimous vote to approve the project following the petition.

But council members who still hope to see the project happen this year seek to bring it to a vote again. If landowners submit another petition opposing the project, council members would need a unanimous vote to move it forward.

Council Member Craig Miller said the work needs to be completed soon rather than later.

“Nothing has been done with that since the street was established,” he said. “It’s never a good time, but by doing the project and if we can save them some money, it’s in their best interest.”

Rick Weires, who lives along Summer Drive, told council members that he has started a petition in favor of the project.

“I personally — and several of my neighbors on this part of the street — would like to see the street upgraded,” he said. “We realize it will be a burden on some, but we think it is the right thing to do.”