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December 2008

November 2008

Johnson County Supervisors failed to budget properly

According to a report in the Iowa City Press-Citizen, county government will have to do less, with less.

County Engineer Greg Parker indicated that expenditures for roads were anticipated to be higher this year, yet the budget remained flat.

Johnson county One of the primary functions of county government, is to maintain roads.  So if the costs to maintain county roads were anticipated to be higher, why did the budget for roads remain flat?

Without question the flood of 2008 and a harsh 2007/2008 winter hit Mr. Parker's Deparment hard.  The county had to react to the flooding and that's understood.  But what county didn't do was get proactive with the budget for roads.  They knew costs were going up.  The rise in cost for gravel, salt and construction were all noted in the article.  So the failure to properly budget with that knowledge is poor management.

From the article:  For example, Parker said the department is putting less rock on gravel roads in an effort to cut expenditures. The cost of rock has increased by an average of 4 percent in each of the last three years.

County has realized increased costs for three years, yet the budget remained flat.  County government increased their overall budget by over 13% for fiscal year 2009, but the money for roads remained flat.  How responsible is that?  County can buy new furniture, give themselves raises, and ask for $20 million MORE to buy up some land for unspecified uses, but virtually IGNORE one of their primary duties?  Buying new furniture is more important than road maintenance?   Supervisors get a pay raise and now residents have to drive on poorer quality roads?  

That's unacceptable.  Supervisor priorities are out of whack, they lack proper focus.

Contact Supervisor Chair Rod Sullivan and give him your two cents: 

rsullivan@co.johnson.ia.us


 


History Channel Presentation Features Work of Local Republican

Johnson County Republican Central Committee member Leah Adams has a daughter, Julie, who is an assistant press secretary for Laura Bush.  The First Lady's staff puts in an incredibly busy and full schedule.  The area's Republican community is so proud of Julie and anxious to a special on the History Channel that she has worked very hard to help produce. If you are starting Thanksgiving Day preparations on Wednesday night or otherwise have the time free, you'll want to tune in to this special presentation.

Who: The History Channel (cable, channel 60)
When: Wednesday, November 26
Where: The White House
Time: 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. CST



Incomes are up, consumption is down

Personal income increased $42.4 billion, or 0.3 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI) increased $45.1 billion, or 0.4 percent, in October, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) decreased $102.8 billion, or 1.0 percent. 

The full text of the release on BEA's Web site can be found at
http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/pi/pinewsrelease.htm


Conservation Bond Issue: Recount Lessons Learned

With three days passed since the completion of the electronic recount of the $20 Million Conservation Bond and many blogs posted in respect to the cost incurred,  I would like to share some personal ‘takes’ of the recount process.

First, I believe it is important to preface that in three short days 1,323 signatures in Johnson County were obtained via petition for a recount.  A significant number of constituents were presumably unhappy that this ended up on the ballot and/or want validation of the voting process since either way they are ‘footing the bill.’

Secondly, the integrity of the recount process is only as good as the motives of the three member recount board and the auditor.  If the motives of these individuals are self serving, indeed an injustice has been done at the expense of the taxpayer. Technology most certainly expedites processes sometimes at the expense of accuracy.  During the electronic recount process it was discovered that multiple ballots were missing official initials on the bottom of the ballots.  When this discrepancy was brought to the attention of the other recount board members it was dismissed on the premise that,” we are not doing a manual recount.”  Perhaps I could have been more persuasive or insistent that a manual recount should be reconsidered based on those findings.

Lastly, we should embrace this process when it presents itself rather than perceive it to be an attack of one’s character or viewpoint.  The recount process should be viewed as a tool to measure the voting procedure, to identify areas of improvement, to uphold the integrity of the voting process and to reassure citizens that their vote does count when the ballot is filled out correctly and indeed the results are accurate.

I have learned a great deal this election season and look forward to the next.

Lori Cardella - Solon


Twelfth Annual Citizen’s Police Academy

IOWA CITY, IA. -- Applications to attend the “Citizen’s Police Academy” are now being accepted through 7:00 AM Friday, January 9th, 2009. Class size is limited so early registration is encouraged. Application forms are available at the Iowa City Police Department, Coralville Police Department, Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, and the University of Iowa Police Department, during normal business hours.

The “Citizen’s Police Academy” (CPA) meets once a week for 10 weeks, beginning January 14, 2009, from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM. Each week covers a different topic and is meant to promote a better relationship between law enforcement and the community it serves. The CPA is sponsored jointly by the four area law enforcement agencies. Meetings will take place at the University of Iowa Police Department located at 808 University Capitol Centre.

Training includes department tours and ride-alongs, defensive tactics, evidence collection, drug investigation, and many other areas of enforcement and operations.

For more information, contact:

Sgt. Mike Lord or Sgt. Kevin Hurd – Iowa City Police Department 356-5286
Officer Meleah Droll – Coralville Police Department 248-1800
Lt. Gary Kramer – Johnson County Sheriff’s Department 356-6020
Officer Brad Allison – University of Iowa Police Department 335-5043


Road Construction - Lafayette Street Closure

IOWA CITY, IA. -- Lafayette Street will continue to be closed to through traffic from Dubuque Street to Clinton Street. This closure is due to an emergency sewer repair. Access to businesses along Lafayette Street is still available via Clinton Street. It is anticipated that Lafayette Street will closed through Friday, December 5th.

Motorists are to take note of this construction and to seek an alternate route during this time period. As always, caution should be exercised when traveling through all construction areas.

For updated information on road construction in Iowa City, visit the City of Iowa City's website at http://www.iowa-city.org/works/roadconstruction.


Drop -off Recycling Sites Will Accept Political Campaign Yard Signs

Still hanging on to those political yards signs because you’re not sure what to do with them? You may recycle them at one of six drop-off recycling sites in Iowa City, listed below.

Paper signs may go in with mixed paper (YELLOW and marked “newspaper/paper” at City sites; marked “mixed paper” at City Carton Recycling). Plastic signs may go in the Plastic containers (RED at City sites; marked “plastic” at City Carton Recycling). Please note: larger signs may need to be cut down to fit in the bins’ openings. Please DO NOT leave signs on the ground.

City Carton Recycling - 3 East Benton Street
Newspaper, white paper, corrugated cardboard, glass (clear, brown, green), #1-5 and #7 plastics, metal cans, magazines, chipboard (cereal boxes), phone books, hard cover and paperback books

East Side Recycling Center - 2401 Scott Blvd. SE
Newspaper and mixed paper, corrugated cardboard, glass (clear, brown, green), #1-5 and #7 plastics, metal cans

Hy-Vee Food Store - 1201 North Dodge Street
Newspaper, glass (clear, brown, green), #1-5 and #7 plastics, metal cans

Eastdale Plaza - 1st Avenue and Lower Muscatine Road
Newspaper and mixed paper, #1-5 and #7 plastics

Drugtown - 301 N. First Avenue
Newspapers and mixed paper, #1-5 and #7 plastics

Iowa City Landfill & Recycle Center - 3900 Hebl Avenue SW, Iowa City
Newspaper, mixed paper, corrugated cardboard, glass (clear, brown, green), #1-5 and #7 plastics, metal cans


GDP Report: Economy Shrinking

Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- decreased at an annual rate of 0.5 percent in the third quarter of 2008, (that is, from the second quarter to the third quarter), according to preliminary estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  In the second quarter, real GDP increased 2.8 percent.  Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments) decreased $14.6 billion in the third quarter, compared with a decrease of $60.2 billion in the second quarter.  

The full text of the release on BEA's Web site can be found at
http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdpnewsrelease.htm


Sign Up Now 12th Annual Kids Shopping Spree


Sign up now for the 12th Annual Kids Shopping Spree at the Coralville Recreation Center Saturday, December 6th from 1:00-3:00 p.m. kids can sign up for a one-hour time slot 1:00, 1:30, 2:00 or 2:30.  Area volunteers will help assist the young shoppers as they pick out just the right gift for Mom, Dad, sister or brother. 

There will be holiday cookies from Cookies & More and punch for everyone to enjoy.  Pre-registration is required, drop in’s will be allowed if spots are available. 

It does not cost to sign up, please bring your own money for gifts.  For more information, or to sign up please contact the Coralville Recreation Center at 1506 8th Street or 248-1750 www.coralville.org.  Interested in volunteering to help with this program?  Please contact Rhonda Hay at 248-1750 for more information.


Check your smoke alarms this winter, UI injury prevention experts say

During winter months, the risk for home fires increases significantly, so now is a good time to inspect home smoke alarms, say injury prevention experts at the University of Iowa.

"Fire risk rises as temperature falls," said Jingzhen (Ginger) Yang, UI assistant professor of community and behavioral health in the UI College of Public Health. "The risk of a house fire can increase by more than 20 percent during the winter months because of defects in heating appliances."

Nearly 65 percent of home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms or smoke alarms that work properly, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), whose guidelines recommend changing smoke alarm batteries once a year and replacing alarms more than 10 years old.