Benefits and Property Tax Information

Benefits of Annexation

Becoming a resident of Johnston has many benefits, which would not necessarily be available to county residents living outside the city limits. Those benefits include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Enhanced Local Representation: In the City of Johnston, 5 council members and a mayor represent the 13,596 city residents (1 representative for every 2,719 residents). In Polk County, 5 County supervisors represent the 374,601 County residents (1 representative for every 74,920 residents).
  • City Police and Fire Protection: Once a property is annexed, the City of Johnston Police and Fire Departments would be the first emergency personnel dispatched to a call.
  • City Street Maintenance and Snow Removal: Once a street falls within the Johnston city limits the city becomes liable for the ownership and maintenance of the roadway, including snow removal. The Public Works Department prides itself with having all streets, including residential streets, clear and open to travel before the morning rush hour.
  • Access to Public Utilities: When considering annexation of property, the City will develop the necessary feasibility studies to determine how public services (water and sanitary sewer) can be provided to an area. The exact timing of the installation of the public services is dependent on many variables and would be determined on a case by case basis. It should be noted, that depending on how the improvements are financed, connection fees may be charged for the services.
  • Zoning District to Accommodate Existing Uses: Whenever possible and where consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, the City will establish a zoning district, which will protect the existing uses on developed properties.

Property Tax Implications

One of the first questions often asked is how will annexation affect property taxes. Once the property is annexed to a municipality, the property becomes taxed under the municipality's tax levy, rather than the county township tax levy.

The city council has approved an annexation policy that would allow a five-year transitional tax abatement for existing residential properties, that voluntarily annex into the City of Johnston. This policy is intended to allow the existing residential properties an opportunity to receive a tax benefit while city services are fully implemented in your area.

Under this program there is a tax abatement of the difference between the applicable Polk County tax rate and the applicable Johnston tax rate over a 5-year period, as follows: Year 1: 75% abatement of difference; Year 2: 60% abatement of difference; Year 3: 45% abatement of difference; Year 4: 30% abatement of difference; Year 5: 15% abatement of difference; Year 6: full City of Johnston taxes. An example follows for a property valued at $100,000, based upon 2011 property tax rates, rollbacks, and a homestead exemption:

Polk County (0.03374471 per $1,000 Valuation): $1,585
City of Johnston (0.03969863 per $1,000 Valuation): $1,865 (+$280)

Transitional Year 1: $1,665 (+$70)
Transitional Year 2: $1,697 (+$112)
Transitional Year 3: $1,739 (+$154)
Transitional Year 4: $1,753 (+$168)
Transitional Year 5: $1,823 (+$238)
Transitional Year 6: $1,865 (+$280)

City staff can compute the exact property tax difference (county versus city) upon request for specific properties.