Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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October 4, 2010

Sullivan’s Salvos 10/5/10

In this edition:

*UICCU and North Liberty
*21 Debate
*Early Voting
*Under a Cider Moon
*Did You Know?

*UICCU and North Liberty
As people who have followed my political interests know, I am a bit of a policy wonk where taxes are concerned. I also have a tendency to share my opinion, even when it would be easier to keep my mouth shut.

Given these two proclivities, it should come as no surprise that I oppose the deal between the University of Iowa Community Credit Union (UICCU) and North Liberty. Here are a few of the reasons:

1.) I do not believe any incentives are necessary. The UICCU wants a new building. They need to put it somewhere in the Corridor… why pay them to do what they are going to do anyway?

2.) Contrary to what has been stated, this project does not create jobs. The people who will be working here already live and work in the area. These jobs are not new, they are simply consolidated.

3.) TIFs were intended to serve as an incentive to redevelop blighted areas. It is hard to argue that bare ground is blighted.

4.) The terms of this agreement are so outrageously favorable to the UICCU that it will take North Liberty decades to recoup that amount in increased tax revenues.

5.) Why provide this incentive for the UICCU and not Hills Bank or Midwest One, both of whom have been in North Liberty for decades? For that matter, how should any current North Liberty business feel about this sweetheart deal?

6.) North Liberty needs to recognize that when they use TIF, they affect County services. There may be situations where North Liberty really does have a more important use for the money than County services. But County services (ambulance, jail, courts, mental health, human services, veteran’s affairs, public health, conservation, elections, assessors, medical examiner, and much more) are important. It is frustrating to me that cities seem to place such little value on them.

7.) The same paragraph above applies to the Clear Creek-Amana School District, which is battered by overuse and misuse of TIF. (More than any school district in Iowa!) Yes, the State backfills TIF revenues to schools. But they do not backfill 100%; it is closer to 80%. What’s more, why should all the taxpayers in Iowa fund North Liberty’s pet project?

I have been writing the same piece for years, with little to show for it. (I figure I have written at least 1400KB on the topic, according to my computer!) I clearly have not been successful in ten plus years of arguing against TIFs. But some day, the misuse and overuse of TIF is going to catch up to the people of Johnson County.

I know most of the members of the North Liberty Council pretty well. They are good people and fine public servants. The people of North Liberty are lucky to have them. I simply believe they are making a mistake in this case.

I hope the North Liberty City Council will see the light, and pass on this deal. The taxpayers of Johnson County deserve better.

It is harvest time, and that means all of us need to adjust a bit. For example:

Be extra careful when driving. I can assure you, the driver of the combine does not want you riding his rear end any more than you want to be there. Patience is a virtue!

Similarly, farm equipment is large, and seeing well enough to pass it can be a challenge. Please be extra cautious when passing large, slow moving equipment.

There are farm accidents every fall. Farmers, you need to be on top of your games! While it may be tempting to cut corners, please observe every safety precaution.

It all sounds like common sense, but every fall people get hurt because they do not exercise the proper caution. Please take your time and do your part to ensure the safety of all involved!

*21 Debate
As you know, voters in Iowa City will be asked to vote to repeal (Yes) the 21 ordinance or keep it in place (No). The two sides are going to be having a debate at 7 PM on Monday, October 11 at the Iowa City Public Library.

The debate is sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Hawkeye Area Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and will be broadcast live on City Channel 4.

*Early Voting
Voters in Johnson County have a myriad of options for voting early. You can vote by mail, vote at a satellite location, or vote at the Auditor’s Office.

To learn about the specific options available to you, call the Auditor’s Office at 356-6004, or visit the website at

*Under a Cider Moon
The Johnson County Heritage Trust is holding its 4th annual Under a Cider Moon – Celebration of Autumn on Saturday, October 9 at the Schwab Celebration Barn, 2501 Sugar Bottom Road in rural Johnson County.

Doors open at 5:30, with a silent auction at 6 and a live auction at 7. There will be music by Guy Drollinger, and local wines, beer, apple cider and hors d’oeuvres will be available. Cost is $50 per person, with $30 of that tax deductable.

All money raised supports the Johnson County Heritage Trust in its mission to protect and preserve the prairies and woodlands of Johnson County.

*DID YOU KNOW? Johnson County SEATS traveled 446,216 miles last year – enough to complete 80 trips around the world!

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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