Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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March 14, 2009

Sullivan’s Salvos 3/17/09

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Anyone who knows me well knows that St. Patrick’s Day is a very special day for my family.

I cannot let St. Pat’s pass without saying a few words about my late father, Bob Sullivan.

Dad was a proud Irishman. He was even born on March 17! Many of the things I love and the opinions I hold were influenced by Dad. I guess you could say he helped make me who I am today.

He was a really fun person to be around; probably the most fun person I have ever known. That is a neat thing to be able to say about your father.

Dad passed away 10 years ago. I still think of him every day… especially on St. Patty’s Day. I miss you, Dad.

Here are some interesting St. Patrick’s Day facts:

*With 23 percent of the population of Celtic ancestry, Massachusetts has a higher proportion of residents of Irish descent than any other state, edging out New Hampshire (20 percent) and Rhode Island (18 percent). The remaining New England states -- Connecticut, Vermont and Maine -- also rank among the top 10 in this category, as do Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Montana.

*New York City has more residents of Irish descent than any city in the world, including Dublin! Boston, however, has the largest percentage of Irish residents of any large American city.

*22 - Gallons of beer consumed per capita by Americans annually.

*9 - Number of places in the US which share the name of Dublin, Ireland's capital. Dublin, OH was the most populous, at 31,392, followed closely by Dublin, CA at 29,973.

Now we move to a different type of green… I-Renew is celebrating renewable energy Sunday, March 22 from 6-10 PM at the Mill. Musical acts include The Gilded Bats and Ben Schmidt with Larry Mossman. There will be free giveaways, a silent auction, and other fun things. Check it out!

The Linn County Board of Supervisors came under tremendous scrutiny the past couple of years for salary-related issues. There are some interesting comparisons that can be made here.

*Linn County Sups are paid $1 for every $1302 in their budget. They are paid 44 cents per resident.

*Here in Johnson County, we are paid $1 for every $1680 in the budget. We are paid 38 cents per resident.

*Iowa County Sups earn $1 for every $238 in the budget. They are paid $1.28 per resident. Numbers for Cedar County are almost identical.

*In Adams County (Iowa’s least populous) Sups earn $1 for every $150 in the budget. They are paid $3.20 per resident.

As you can see, while County budgets and Supervisor salaries come under fire in larger counties, residents there pay far a lower per capita amount.

The fact that rural counties pay more for government makes some sense. There are 500-1500 miles of rural roads in every county, regardless of population. Every county has to have a jail and a courthouse. Every county must hold elections, assess homes and farmland, record documents, and so on.

Yes, there are rural counties where taxes are lower. Those counties also have far fewer services. If it is governmental efficiency you are seeking, larger counties seem to fare better.

The Johnson County Soil and Water Conservation District is having its annual Tree, Wildflower, Prairie Grass, and Seed Sale fundraiser.

This is a great way to get your yard and garden started for 2009! The selection is unbelievable! This is the biggest fundraiser each year for the JCSWCD. You can order online at; the orders are due by March 24.

It is not fun to remind folks of this, but the US continues to be engaged in a war in Iraq that is at least unwise and probably illegal. It has been over 7 years now. Millions of Iraqis have been displaced; perhaps 600,000 or more Iraqis are dead. US troops have suffered 4,182 casualties and over 30,000 serious injuries. The war costs US taxpayers $18 million per hour, every hour.

To remind people of this ongoing issue, there will be a Peace Walk at 7 PM on March 19th. Meet at the corner of Clinton Street and Iowa Avenue. Refreshments will follow at Old Brick.

DID YOU KNOW? Kalona is the largest Amish community west of the Mississippi River.

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.

These messages come solely from Rod Sullivan, and neither represents the viewpoints of the whole Board of Supervisors nor those of groups or individuals otherwise mentioned.

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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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