Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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June 25, 2011

Sullivan’s Salvos 6/14/11

In this edition:

*Father’s Day
*North Liberty Wards
*Doing More With Less
*Corn Prices
*Did You Know?

*Father’s Day
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. To those of you who still have a dad around – please cherish that fact! Even though he has been gone for 12 years, I miss my own father every single day. He was not only my dad, but my best friend. I love you, Dad!

*North Liberty “Wards”
I found it interesting that just as I was writing about a District system for Supervisors, North Liberty got a petition forcing an election on a ward system.

We are not talking about a city the size of Des Moines, where citizens in one area could perhaps argue they are overlooked. North Liberty has less than 12,000 residents. An elected official SHOULD be able to represent the whole city!

The same arguments I made last week apply here. Rather than doing what is best for the whole city, North Liberty will get a system of parochialism. Your ward got a park? By God, my ward will get a park! This type of thinking will drive up the cost of government immensely.

I think some folks in North Liberty are angry at their Council. Fine. Recruit candidates. But do not fundamentally alter your government in a way that makes it less efficient.

*”Doing More With Less”
As governments at every level go through a period of austerity, we often hear the phrase, “We’ll have to do more with less.”

While I understand the sentiment, I think it is important to point out that it is EXTREMELY unlikely that anyone can actually do more with less. Like “giving 110%”, “doing more with less” is a turn of phrase that is not likely going to happen.

Sure, there may be situations where people are very wasteful, or processes are very inefficient. In those cases, one might truly be able to “do more with less”.

But that is not my experience with government in Johnson County. If we provide fewer resources, the public will be getting fewer services. There is no “do more with less”. It sounds good, but an optimistic attitude can only go so far. The reality is – less public dollars means fewer public services!

So, when you hear this, point it out. Do not let the budget cutters off the hook. They are free to advocate cuts, but they do not get to claim that services will improve because of it! You cannot have your cake and eat it too! If you voted for budget cuts, then you voted for service cuts. Simple as that.

Johnson County will be busy with Pride events this upcoming week. There will be a picnic Friday night, a parade at noon Saturday, and a festival Saturday afternoon, just to name a few.

I LOVE the fact that I live in a state where same sex couples have the right to marry! I LOVE the fact that I live in a city and county with strong Human Rights Ordinances! I LOVE the fact that Johnson County is a relatively open and affirming place! And I LOVE the fact that the rest of the country is beginning to see that we have it right! If you feel the same way I do, join in the fun this weekend!

For a full schedule of events, see:

If you have not yet done so, get out and visit the wonderful Bookmarks public art installations. Spread throughout Iowa City, Coralville, and North Liberty, these large sculptures are a real treat to visit!

Bookmarks is just the latest initiative brought to you through the UNESCO City of Literature. Rest assured, more great reading/writing events are on the way!

Check out photos, maps, and more about Bookmarks at:

*Corn Prices
It is a good time to be a corn grower! Record corn prices have some farmers rolling in dough right now.

Corn prices were historically around $2 per bushel. Depending on weather conditions, farmers might earn a very small profit – usually less than 2-3%. Then came the ethanol industry and $4 corn. Suddenly, farmers were doing pretty well. Fast forward a couple more years, and we have corn prices at $7.40 per bushel!

A bit of quick math: Corn is $7.40 per bushel. Multiply that by the average Iowa yield of 183 bushels/acre. The average Iowa farm is 353 acres. (Not all that will be corn, so we’ll be conservative and say 67%.) 353 x .67 = 236.5 acres in corn. $7.40 x 183 x 236 = $319,591.

If a farmer broke even at $2/bushel, that is $86,376. Now granted, inputs (fuel, fertilizer, etc.) have gone up tremendously. Still, the annual difference in income from the days of $2 corn is well over six figures!

Obviously, if your farm is virtually all dairy or hogs, and you are purchasing that corn, your business could be struggling. But it is a VERY good time to be a corn grower!

*DID YOU KNOW? Johnson County put down 103,000 tons (206 million pounds!) of gravel in the spring of 2011.

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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