Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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March 6, 2010

Sullivan’s Salvos 3/2/10

I continue to be amazed by how little attention anyone pays to local government. My bet is that less than 2-3% of the voting age population in Johnson County could name all 5 Supervisors. My guess is that City Council members would be slightly better known in their home communities, but not much; School Board members would be known by virtually no one.

It is also frustrating the way the bodies are lumped together – you hear people say, “The School Board feels,” or “The Council thinks,” when in reality, there are widely divergent views among the members. I have only seen 5-6 articles in my 6 years on the Board that really attempted to flush out the differences between individual Supervisors, and those were all in the Solon Economist/North Liberty Leader.

The problems with this lack of information should be evident. One of the biggest issues is a distinct lack of accountability. There are some pretty poor votes being cast out there, and no one seems to know. Similarly, there are some real acts of courage that go completely unnoticed.

Virtually no one knows what we do or why we do it, and even fewer voice any type of well-reasoned opinion. The few people I hear from regularly fall into two distinct categories: 1) people who hate me with such a passion that they will not believe me even when I explain that I voted the way they wanted; 2) friends who tell me “good job” no matter what I have done. Both groups are very small. It is all really, really sad.

I have serious concerns about the state of our local governmental units. We are desperate for the media to take note, and for the public to get involved.

I am interested in your thoughts. Do you feel I’m being too pessimistic? Do you have any ideas for improving the situation?

A public hearing on the FY11 County budget will be held at 6 PM on Wednesday, March 3 at the County Administration Building.

Following the hearing the budget can be lowered, but not increased. A formal vote on the budget will be held at 5:30 PM on March 11; the budget is due to the State by March 15.

Some budget highlights…

*The budget is actually significantly lower this year ($75 million) than last ($84 million); most of that change is a result of the Joint Emergency Communication Center budget. They spent a lot of money on their building and equipment in FY10; their budget is lower (but not as low as I’d like) this year.

*The proposed budget contains a small tax increase in the General Fund, mostly to cover the 2.75 and 2.8% raises negotiated by the six county bargaining units. There are 4 FTEs being added to the payroll – two in the Ambulance Department and two Sheriff’s Deputies.

*A larger increase is proposed in the Rural Fund. The Board is concerned about falling behind in terms of rural road maintenance – hence the increase. At the same time, I think the Board will reduce rural taxes if enough residents speak up for lower taxes versus better roads. We’ll see what happens.

A sure sign that spring is upon us… the 27th annual Prairie Preview will be Tuesday, March 9 at Parkview Church.

If you enjoy the outdoors, care about the environment, or just have cabin fever, this event is a must-do!

The event begins at 6:30, with a 7:30 presentation by writer and photographer Bill Witt. For further info, see

The Compeer Program, with the mission of matching community volunteers with people being treated for a mental illness, is holding the 7th annual “Sound of Friendship” concert at 7 PM on March 6th at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church. Enjoy desserts plus the music of Dan Moore, Kol Shira, and the Pan American Steel Drum Band.

Tickets are $20 and available at the door. Compeer is funded entirely by the fundraising efforts of the Compeer Board of Directors. If you are unable to attend, but would like to support the event by purchasing tickets to be donated to people with mental illness, please feel free to purchase a ticket anyway and Compeer will make sure a Community Mental Health Center client receives it.

For more info, call 338-7884 extension #245 or E-mail

DID YOU KNOW? Johnson County SEATS made over 103,500 trips in 2009.

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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