Helfenberger said one way to help the situation would be to increase the tax base in Ottumwa, and they are aggressively looking for ways to do that by bringing in businesses and providing affordable housing.
“We are working harder than ever on trying to create more tax base,” he said. “That would be a huge help in this situation. It may not be the whole answer, but it certainly is a step in the right direction.”
If the tax base does not grow, then the city will have to make drastic cuts by reducing staff and services. Then, if the city has to get rid of some staff, the departments will have to try and maintain services with less people, and certain projects will have to get prioritized or deferred until later.
Even though the loss in revenue from the property tax legislation will hurt Ottumwa and some of the services the city offers might have to be cut, Jay is optimistic that the future will be fine.
“What we’re doing is in the right direction,” he said. “We just can’t move too fast.”
— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh