Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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January 17, 2010

Sullivan’s Salvos 1/19/10

Johnson County residents have an important election coming up on January 19. In my opinion, this election is a referendum on the role of government in our lives. That should not be taken lightly.

I strongly encourage you to learn everything you can about the two candidates, and come to your own decision. Me? I enthusiastically support Supervisor Janelle Rettig. The reasons are many, but it boils down to this: are we in this together or not?

Please do not skip this election. Your voice is important. It is an unusual date for an election, but please get out and vote.

Do not forget, there are plenty of early voting opportunities! For a complete list, see the Johnson County Auditor’s website at:

Team registration is now open for Bowl For Kids' Sake 2010. Bowl For Kids' Sake is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County's annual fundraiser. Participants receive a free round of bowling, t-shirt, and the chance to win door prizes. This year's event, which will be held the last weekend in February, will have a Western theme. Team registration forms are available from the agency's website,

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County serves over 700 kids annually through its school- and community-based, one-to-one mentoring programs. Revenue from Bowl For Kids' Sake accounts for one-third of the agency's yearly budget. The fundraiser has been hosted by Colonial Lanes in Iowa City since 1984.

The Sullivan for Supervisor team will be bowling once again this year. We have room on our team for two bowlers… would you like to join the cause? If so, let me know! Otherwise, we would love to have you sponsor us. Just go to the BBBS website at

And follow the links.

BBBS Bowl For Kids’ Sake – a great cause! Feel free to join us and/or sponsor us!

I have long argued for a greater use of development impact fees. I think there is a great opportunity out there right now that would allow Iowa City, Johnson County, and perhaps Coralville and Tiffin to develop in a smarter and less expensive manner.

Iowa City recently came to Johnson County with a proposal to annex 132 acres north of I-80, just west of Pearson. I believe this annexation makes sense, but only if Iowa City and Johnson County begin charging a development impact fee in the area.

Some background: Planners in local governments have long envisioned Oakdale Boulevard as the primary east-west arterial street north of I-80. Oakdale already serves this purpose through much of Coralville; what most folks do not realize is that Oakdale is penciled out from west of Tiffin all the way to Scott Boulevard in eastern Iowa City.

The fact that the road is planned is great; the implementation has left much to be desired. For example – when Oakdale was taken east of 12th Avenue in Coralville, local leaders should have required that it be connected to Dubuque Street. People who did much of the development in the area claim they would have paid for the road had they been asked. (Of course, that is easy to say now! But local electeds should have forced the issue.)

Some folks saw what was coming. Then-Supervisor Jonathon Jordahl argued that this situation would create traffic problems, and create a disincentive for future development. Jonathon nailed it. Fast forward 10-15 years, and now Johnson County and Coralville are collaborating on a completion of Oakdale from the dead end to Dubuque Street. Taxpayers in Coralville and rural Johnson County are now footing the bill.

Again, this SHOULD have been paid for; developers could have added $2,000 to each of 500 lots and extended the road. Instead, the road was allowed to dead end. Now, instead of $1,000,000 paid by developers, we have $4,000,000 paid by folks who never asked for the development in the first place.

Oakdale will soon reach Dubuque Street on the west. If Iowa City develops according to the plan in the proposed annexation, Oakdale will start moving west from Highway 1. That leaves a big gap in the middle. Who will pay to fill in this gap? If both Iowa City and Johnson County begin to charge a development impact fee now, we can save up enough money to connect the road all the way through. It would then be paid for by the development as opposed to being paid for by taxpayers.

This is particularly relevant to rural folks. County roads are paid for through the Rural Fund. It will be difficult to argue that the area in question is “rural”, yet rural landowners will foot the bill. That just isn’t fair. In addition, a full connection between Dubuque Street and Highway 1 requires crossing the Iowa River. That bridge will NOT be cheap!

I strongly urge elected officials in Iowa City and Johnson County to enter into a 28E agreement, and to begin collecting a development impact fee in this area. Johnson County, Coralville and Tiffin probably ought to be talking about the same thing heading west.

We have an opportunity to do this right. I do not have any desire to look back in twenty years and say I told you so. Let’s do this correctly now.

DID YOU KNOW? The population of Johnson County is about 17% rural.

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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