Numbers matter

Marshalltown city tax ranks 182nd highest of 943 towns (Top 20 percent).

Marshalltown school tax rate ranks 23rd highest of 360 districts (Top 7 percent).

Marshalltown school ranking ( is 307th of 312 (Bottom 2 percent).

Marshalltown consolidated tax rate ranks 71st highest of 943 towns. (Top 8 percent).

Recently there have been individuals attempting to make an argument that the property taxes in Marshalltown are reasonable. They have argued that while other communities have lower tax rates, their properties have a higher valuation and thus a larger overall number is being paid per resident. While this is true, it doesn’t tell the entire story. The number of residents and property valuation are important variables, but other factors like incremental increases in property value and overall resale value of the home must be considered if you are to include property valuation in the argument. Those homes with higher value in comparable communities are increasing in value year over year rather than staying stagnant as they have in Marshalltown.

While it is important to look at things from many angles, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it is probably a duck. If you think you are paying high property taxes, and you are told you are paying high taxes, and you study/compare tax rates and it shows you are paying high property taxes; it probably means you are paying high property taxes.

Unfortunately, most of our elected officials don’t seem to care about budgets. In all honesty, many elected officials (city council and school board alike) don’t care about raising your already high tax rates. People are not able to solve a problem they don’t believe exists, so Marshalltown will just continue to see large numbers of working professionals commute from similar sized communities that surround us.

Rather than patting ourselves on the back for keeping our high property taxes at the same rate for another year, maybe these elected officials should start asking hard questions during budget meetings and trying to solve the problem as to why people won’t move here. It might help if we raised the bar and stopped comparing ourselves to high tax/poor education communities. I love Marshalltown, but I will not be someone who pulls the wool over my eyes and refuses to acknowledge the problems that exist. We should be working together to solve them.