Iowa City franchise fees and city manager search update

June 30, 2009

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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Council to discuss fire station, franchise fees

May 27, 2009

By Gregg Hennigan

IOWA CITY – The long-discussed, long-delayed fourth fire station and new franchise fees will be among the highlights of the council’s Thursday night budget meeting.

The council on Tuesday night began discussing specific services to cut and possible new revenue sources as it looks to cut $250,000 from the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, plus another $750,000 in the following year and beyond.

Those figures do not include staffing a new fire station, which would require an additional $750,000.

The Gazette’s story of the Tuesday meeting can be seen here. A copy of a city memo listing recommendations can be seen at the end of this post.

Toward the end of the meeting, which lasted until nearly 10 p.m., council members said they would decide on the fire station on Thursday.

This council has taken a lot of flak for first promising that they’d finally pay to staff the proposed fourth fire station, and then later removing the funding and making it a part of the “priority-setting process” the council currently is undertaking.

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