Axios Des Moines

Picture of the Des Moines skyline with DSM written across it.

September 19, 2022

📚 Happy banned book Monday. Are you on Goodreads? Share your account with us! (Our editor wants to add you.)

  • What "naughty" reading materials are on your list?

Today's weather: Highs in the mid-80s and sunny.

🎂 Happy birthday to our Axios Des Moines members Christopher Ketter and Ray Seidelman!

Today's Smart Brevity™ count is 682 words, a 2.5-minute read.

1 big thing: A historic home value hike

Illustration of a heavy golden house, glimmering.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Polk County home assessments will increase around 22% next year. Polk County assessor Randy Ripperger projected the hike during a meeting last week with the Taxpayers Association of Central Iowa.

  • He estimates commercial properties will increase about 18%.

Why it matters: Assessed value is one of the main factors in determining how much property owners pay in taxes.

  • It would mark the steepest hike in residential values in the county's history, Ripperger said.

Catch up fast: Iowa assessors are required to reappraise property in odd-numbered years. The next new values are due in April 2023.

  • Sales prices keep increasing and current market value is a key factor of an assessment.
  • The median sales price of a single-family home in Polk County was around $286,000 in July, up more than 12% in the last year, according to a report by the Iowa Association of Realtors.

Flashback: The assessed values of Polk County homes increased an average of 8% in the 2021 reassessments. 

Be smart: Larger assessments do not automatically mean that tax bills will jump by the same percentages, Art Wittmack, president of the taxpayers association, said in last week’s meeting.

  • State policies intended to help limit taxpayer pain and rates set by local governments are big factors in what is ultimately owed, Wittmack noted.

Reminder: Iowa property owners who pay their taxes in installments have until Sept. 30 to avoid late interest on their bill that was due Sept. 1.

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2. 👁 First look: Union at Rivers Edge

A drawing of an apartment building

Rendering by the Annex Group/Ask Studio via the city of Des Moines

Preliminary plans for the $56 million Union at Rivers Edge project go before the Urban Design Review Board Tuesday.

Why it matters: Some DSM City Council members question whether the project is a good fit or worthy of more than $5 million in tax incentives.

Details: The Annex Group, an Indianapolis-based developer, is proposing about 220 apartments in two buildings at 214 Jackson Ave.

  • The nearly four-acre site is a former industrial area that’s adjacent to developing recreation and water trails.

Catch up fast: A preliminary development agreement was narrowly approved by the city council last month in a 4-3 vote.

State of play: Design review board staff recommend approval of the preliminary designs.

  • Construction could begin next year and take about two years to complete.
Data: City of Des Moines; Map: Axios Visuals

3. 🌽 The Ear: Talk corny to me

A photo from the TV show, "The View"

Sara Haines, right, an Iowa native and co-host of "The View," received an Iowa-themed birthday surprise on Friday's show. Photo: Jeff Neira/ABC

💸 The rebooted ICON river project landed another $7 million in federal funding, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Friday. (Des Moines Register)

🍖 A food hall similar to the City Foundry STL in St. Louis could be part of the redevelopment of a former grain storage and distribution facility at 204 S.W. Second St. in downtown DSM. (Business Record 🔒)

🗣 Voting restriction discussions led to a heated exchange on Friday's "Iowa Press" between Iowa Secretary of State candidates, GOP incumbent Paul Pate and Linn County Auditor Joel Miller. (Iowa Public Radio)

💉 COVID-19 reinfections are not reported by Iowa health officials as in some other states. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)

4. ☕️ Morning routine: Urbandale Mayor Bob Andeweg

A photo of Urbandale Mayor Bob Andeweg.

Photo courtesy of the city of Urbandale

Urbandale Mayor Bob Andeweg is helping lead a city, while also balancing a full-time job as an attorney.

Details: His secret is having a good to-do list and using a focus planner.

  • "If I make a list of 10 things, I'm never going to get all 10 of them, but at least if I can get the top three, I feel pretty good."

State of play: On a typical day, you'll likely find him running between calling legal clients and cutting ribbons for new Urbandale businesses.

  • His favorite morning meeting spots are Twisted Bean and Hy-Vee.

Here's how Mayor Andeweg starts his day:

⏰ Wake up: 5:30-6am. The first thing he does is play Wordle. (And if he can't sleep, he'll play it at midnight.)

🥣 Breakfast: Black coffee at home and whatever's available to throw into the Vitamix blender, along with some protein powder.

  • "It fills me up and helps me resist the temptation to grab a doughnut or something else."

🗞️ What he's reading: The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post.

📣 Which DSM-area mover and shaker’s morning routine would you like to read about? Reply as let us know!

Fresh job openings around town

🤿 Dive into a new role with our Job Board.

  1. HIM Director at Conifer Health Solutions.
  2. Product Management at Microsoft.
  3. Implementation-Conversion Analyst I at FIS.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

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⛔️ Our favorite banned books:

This newsletter was edited by Ross Terrell and copy edited by Lucia Maher.