Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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December 20, 2008

Sullivan’s Salvos 12/23/08

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it; Happy Holidays to all the rest! I hope this holiday season is safe, healthy, and happy for all the people of Johnson County.

Congratulations to Deputy Treasurer Betty Sass on an amazing 55 years of employment with Johnson County. That is not a misprint… 55 years of continuous employment!

Not only is Betty a great employee, but she is a great person. Best wishes, Betty, and congratulations on an amazing run!

I wrote last week about County services, and I had several folks ask me why I did not mention roads. Roads are certainly a big part of the County budget. I specifically omitted roads because only rural residents pay for rural roads. (There is a separate Rural Fund.) Since I live in a city, I do not pay into the Rural Fund. Therefore, I pay no taxes to support the Secondary Roads system. Since I was writing about my own tax bill, I left that out.

An additional note: state law prohibits the transfer of money from the Rural Fund to the General Fund and vice versa. So counties throughout Iowa may have extra money in the General Fund and no money for roads, or extra money in the Rural Fund and no money for General Fund expenditures. Transfers are not allowed.

My term as Chair of the Board of Supervisors is coming to an end. What a term it has been! A few of the things that occurred were quite unprecedented: For the first time ever, Johnson County granted the Chair the power to enact curfews. For the first time ever, Johnson County granted the Chair the power to do mandatory evacuations.

Unfortunately, I got to be the first Chair to exercise each of these powers. Several folks were required to leave their homes. Thankfully, no one died, and no one was severely injured. We lost a great deal of property, but all our public safety measures paid off.

In addition to the floods, my term as Chair saw the terrible winter of January-March; the record-setting Iowa Caucuses in January; fights over road embargoes in April and May; the record-setting election of November, including the passage of the Conservation Bond; opening two new County buildings; and many other less monumental events. All in all, it was quite a year!

Hopefully, you feel that County government provided you with quality services during this time. That is the real measure of what we do.

Now, as I prepare to pass the gavel to Supervisor Neuzil, I want to thank all of you for all of your support this year. It was quite a ride!

Since I am offering thanks… thank you all for listening to the weekly rants of a lowly County Supervisor! When I began doing this in December of 2004, I had no idea how it would evolve or what type of response I would get.

Four years later, I cannot imagine going without Salvos. Selfishly, I enjoy writing. More importantly, I have gotten tremendous feedback!

Unfortunately, most people do not pay much attention to local government. Thankfully, Salvos readers are not amongst that group.

You have lifted me up when I am down, knocked me down a peg when I was too full of myself, offered me excellent ideas, and given me some great advice. All the people of Johnson County have benefitted from your feedback. For that, you have my sincere thanks.

Meanwhile, keep those comments, questions, and ideas coming!

OK, enough navel gazing for one edition! Next week… the much anticipated Salvos Salutes! Check it out to see if your friends and neighbors made the list.

DID YOU KNOW? Astronomers believe that the Star of Bethlehem might have actually appeared in June of 2 BC. This comes as no huge surprise to religious historians, who knew that early Christians might have fudged the date of Christ’s birth to match up closely with the biggest pagan celebration of the time– the Winter Solstice.

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

"Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents.

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As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



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