In life, we all get a bit rusty, eventually. One friend needs a hip replacement and another is recovering from neurosurgery on his lower back. I have had surgeries to repair each of my shoulders and am planning on getting other procedures to essentially repair what is malfunctioning due to wear and tear. In other words: I’m getting old. Aging into the sixties and beyond immerses nearly everyone into an expanding world of medical maintenance. Whether our friends, family or ourselves, repair of aging ‘systems’ is a reality for most people.
This reality is one reason why AARP and seniors throughout Des Moines support Public Measure A, the local option sales tax that, according to estimates, will generate an additional $37 million in annual revenue for Des Moines. Half of these funds will be directed to the city’s infrastructure – projects such as our aging storm sewer system, repairing roads (and filling potholes) and improving pedestrian options by installing and improving sidewalks. The other half of the estimated revenues will go towards important public services such as fire and police protection. Directing funds for such purposes will also provide property tax relief – another attractive feature for seniors.
According to a study conducted for Catch Des Moines, 13.7 million people visit the city every year and it’s only reasonable to assume that they’re spending money while here. With 97 percent of Iowa communities already utilizing the local sales tax option, it only makes sense for the state’s largest city to do likewise.
Our infrastructure is screaming for help. Hundreds of households sustained flooded basements and worse because of antiquated storm sewer systems that were overwhelmed by monsoon-like rains. Vehicles were destroyed and, in one tragic instance, a man’s life was lost after he stepped out of his vehicle to seek assistance. Meanwhile, Des Moines’ harsh winters are producing a bumper crop of potholes. Avoiding some of these street craters without changing lanes is a challenge and failing to avoid the holes can create serious damage and unexpected costs.
Public Measure A is the ideal solution. We’re all proud of how popular our city has become and we would be wise to capitalize on this popularity by collecting an extra penny for every dollar spent in Des Moines. By capturing this additional revenue, we can continue to build this city into the major regional attraction it has become.
As a senior resident of Des Moines, I want our city to be able to keep itself viable and attractive to everyone – from residents to out-of-towners. With passage of Public Measure A, we increase our ability to keep Des Moines vibrant by taking care of the age-related stresses to its infrastructure and easing pressure on property taxes for all homeowners.
We all age and most of us take care to ensure this inevitable process is less of a hindrance in our lives. We replace hips, knees or other worn body parts, when possible. It only makes sense that we make the same efforts to ensure our city remains a vibrant regional hub.
I encourage all residents of Des Moines to vote YES on Public Measure A on Tuesday, March 5. Like many of my fellow seniors, our city isn’t getting any younger – but we can all work to ensure it ages with continued grace and beauty by securing the funding necessary. Please vote Yes on March 5.
-Robert Bailey, Des Moines resident & AARP member