Iowa City franchise fees and city manager search update

By Gregg Hennigan

IOWA CITY – The City Council is ready to move ahead on franchise fees but will wait awhile on the city manager search.

Those were the main takeaways from Monday night’s work session. See stories here and here.

Because it was a work session, no formal action was taken. But the council made itself clear on those two issues.

On the franchise fees, the closest anyone came to speaking against them was Matt Hayek saying the fees shouldn’t be seen as a “panacea” for the city’s budget problems. Also, a few council members said they’d only support the fees if the money went toward public safety, including the hiring of more police officers and a staffing new fire station. But those are high priorities for the city anyway. 

On the city manager search, many of the council members said they saw the merits both to starting the search now and waiting until early next year, when the council potentially will have three new members following this fall’s election. A combination of being happy with interim City Manager Dale Helling and wanting one council to make the big decisions on the hire led the council to decide to wait.

The council fired former City Manager Michael Lombardo in April for undisclosed reasons.


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