Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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May 23, 2010

Sullivan’s Salvos 5/18/10

In this edition:

*Foster parents
*New Pi to New Pi
*UI Graduation
*Hills City Council
*Shueyville Road
*Did You Know?

*Foster Parents
I hope you all enjoyed Mother’s Day. While I was enjoying the company of my wife and my mother, my thoughts turned to the many local young people who NEED mothers.

Foster Parents are desperately needed in Johnson County. I urge you to investigate how you can help. For more info, contact Iowa KidsNet at:

*New Pi to New Pi
It is Bike to Work Week in Johnson County, and one of the best biking events of the year takes place Thursday as the annual New Pi to New Pi ride sets sail.

Interested bicyclists should show up at Chauncey Swan Park in Iowa City (near New Pi) a bit ahead of 5:30. At 5:30, the ride heads to the New Pi store in Coralville for food and music.

The ride there is great, as local police “clear the way”. Other than one large hill, there are not too many obstacles. I urge everyone to give this ride a try!

*UI Graduation
Because we live in a University community, the rhythms of the academic year influence our lives in many ways. One of these is the annual spring ritual of graduation.

I have always been a real softy when it comes to milestones of any type. I tear up at weddings, funerals, and yes, graduations. Graduation is a huge milestone. A portion of life is completed, and a new chapter begins.

Congratulations to all the graduates and their families. Rest assured that I’ll get a lump in my throat when I hear Pomp & Circumstance.

*Hills City Council
I was appointed as the Board’s liaison to the City of Hills earlier this year, and just this week I got the opportunity to sit in on a Hills City Council meeting.

Like the denizens of most small cities, Hills residents have a lot of pride in their hometown. At the meeting I attended, the nonprofit group that runs the Hills Community Center was urging the City Council to take on the operations of the Community Center. The building is slowly losing money. The City would be able to insure and maintain the building much less expensively than the small nonprofit. As the volunteers said, “this is a community asset.” I agree. I hope the Hills Council will decide to maintain the Community Center.

There were other interesting things going on. Stutsman’s Inc. discussed a planned expansion. Hills is starting a Parks and Rec Commission. Streets require maintenance.

Hills is a small town, but many things are happening there. I look forward to future discussions with the City of Hills!

*Shueyville Road
Johnson County Supervisors will be voting soon on a proposal to rebuild 120th Street through the city of Shueyville. This is a unique road project that deserves some explanation here.

Under normal circumstances, incorporated cities repair their own roads. However state law leaves counties with the responsibility for certain roads that run through cities of under 500 people. Shueyville is the only incorporated city of under 500 people in Johnson County, and 120th Street is one of only two roads that fit this definition.

120th Street is in a serious state of disrepair. It really should be fixed. But Johnson County is faced with a dilemma: Shueyville is surrounded by rural housing developments. It could easily annex enough residents to exceed the 500-person threshold. So – what happens if Johnson County pays for the road, then Shueyville snaps it up?

To their credit, Shueyville has tried to address this concern. They have offered to repay the county for the total cost of construction over a 20-year period. Unfortunately, their debt limits do not allow them to enter into a binding agreement for the first ten of those years. So, years 11-20 would be guaranteed; 1-10 are not.

So, what to do? The way I see it, Johnson County has three choices:

1. Allow the road to decay further. This seems unfair to the 6,000 vehicles that travel this road every day. (6,000 is a VERY significant number!) It seems to me that at some point, someone HAS to do this repair, unless we wish to risk the liability of a very unsafe road. Sooner or later, someone gets hurt.

2. Fix the road without Shueyville’s participation. While we could do this, I do not see the point. If we do not accept their offer, rural residents everywhere else bear the expense. I would think that someone farming outside of Lone Tree would have little interest in paying for a road in Shueyville… and I can understand why.

3. Accept Shueyville’s offer, and allow them to repay the county for the road. Shueyville has offered what they can in good faith. Even if they renege on the first 10 years, the county gets 10 years guaranteed. Half a loaf is better than none at all. I do not think we should allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good in this case. Accepting their best offer makes sense to me.

DID YOU KNOW? Bike to Work Week participants saved over 3,500 gallons of gas during b2ww 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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