City debt information

Recently a lot of questions regarding the city’s debt and the property tax levy have been raised, and I would like to clarify some of this information. First, before any new debt is issued, Marshalltown citizens either approve the debt by voting or can voice their opinion at the public hearing. These votes or public hearings will always indicate how the City will repay the debt. For example, money borrowed for a sewer project will be repaid with the sewer charges paid by the users of the system. If money is borrowed for streets, the city would use property taxes to repay this debt because there is not a user fee system and everyone benefits from street projects.

For the budget starting July 1, 2018, this debt supported by user fees is $3,009,932. The remaining debt of $3,778,049 is normally passed on to citizens via the property tax debt service levy. In the budget starting July 1, 2018, the city council used more than $3 million of local option sales tax dollars for property relief to reduce the taxes needed to make our annual debt payments. Of the overall city property tax levy of $15.28, 85 cents goes towards the debt. For a house assessed at $100,000, less than $50 of your total property tax bill goes towards paying off the debt.

Currently, we are only using 64 percent of our legal debt capacity. The city responsibly manages our legal debt capacity by working with a financial advisor to look at how best to manage our property tax rates and the portion needed to repay the city’s debt. The city council will continue to talk about our debt capacity and how we sensibly manage the tax levy with the project needs of the cty. More information about the city’s debt, including specific issuances and repayment schedules, can be found on pages 12 and 13 of the Official Statement from our last bond issuance, located at under Finance Department Debt.