Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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February 8, 2013

Sullivan’s Salvos 2/12/13 In this edition: *An Open Letter to Tom Markus *Bowl For Kids’ Sake! *Did You Know? *An Open Letter to Tom Markus Dear Tom: You blew it. There was a great opportunity for Iowa City and Johnson County to work together. But you blew it. You decided to screw the County when it came to the Animal Shelter. Then you are disingenuous when it comes to SEATS negotiations. I do not trust you. I do not like the way you do business. It was not always this way. Yes, Iowa City has always assumed itself to be superior to Johnson County. That mild arrogance is just Iowa City for you. It is almost heartwarming. But Iowa City was never malicious. As a matter of fact, Iowa City used to be quite friendly and helpful where Johnson County was concerned. Things took a turn for the worse during the whole JECC debacle, but we were recovering from that. Then you blew it. OK – let me get the obvious out of the way. I am speaking for myself, and not the whole Board of Supervisors. (I have a disclaimer that says as much at the end of every edition of Salvos. Today is no different.) Let me also say – if individual Board members disagree with me, you should ask them to explain their own theories. You deserve to know how the people that represent you think. So Tom. Let’s talk a bit about YOUR “theories” as they apply to local government. First of all, Iowa City recently put out a press release on the SEATS program. In the first sentence of the 5th paragraph, it stated: "Johnson County has firmly indicated that they intend to phase out funding of para-transit services." That sentence is patently false. Johnson County is committed to continuing to provide SEATS services in EVERY case where SEATS is a County responsibility. The only "phasing out" is the decision Johnson County made to "phase out" a $500,000+ annual subsidy to Iowa City. I would like the public record to reflect the reality rather than this gross misrepresentation. Johnson County's commitment to pay for para-transit services has been demonstrated for 40+ years. Just follow the money. Now it is the time for Iowa City to step up and meet its federally mandated responsibilities. Iowa City goes on to state: “Central to these discussions is the issue of having each community fund their equitable portion for the services provided to their residents. Iowa City firmly believes that our residents should pay an equitable share of costs for these critically important para-transit services. However, we also understand that our residents pay taxes to both Iowa City and Johnson County and further believe that equitable funding shares should include the source of tax dollars regardless of the governmental entity that collects them.” That would be great. But it is not true. Tom Markus does not REALLY want equitable funding. He wants to gouge the County. Want to pay equitably, Tom? We can get together a bill for Ambulance services – about 80% of the calls occur in Iowa City. Your Public Health bill will be huge – you can cover the costs of inspecting all the restaurants, tattoo parlors, swimming pools, saunas, etc. You’ll also owe quite a bit for WIC and Child and Maternal Health – most of those clients come from Iowa City. Don’t even get me STARTED on alcohol issues! Federal elections cost millions of dollars; about half the voters in Johnson County live in Iowa City. 2014 will be big, but you’d better start budgeting for 2016 right now! A high percentage of the people who use Johnson County Conservation areas/trails are from Iowa City. We will need to charge you accordingly. Almost all of our Medical Examiner calls occur within Iowa City limits. That will cost you well over a million bucks. The County has an annual Mental Health budget of over $15 million. Most of the clients live in Iowa City. Your check for $12 million can’t arrive soon enough! Iowa City residents can pay a surcharge every time they use the Recorder’s Office. Most our births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and property transactions are in Iowa City. Same goes for the Treasurer’s Office - whenever they pay taxes or renew plates; these offices cost money to run, you know! Oh, and the Treasurer collects and distributes all of Iowa City’s annual property taxes – over $70 million. We are going to need to begin charging a small fee for this service; perhaps 1%. Surely you don’t object! Iowa City cops can start paying to drop prisoners off at the jail. Better yet, build your own Goddamned jail! Iowa City puts most the people there anyway! And you’ll be getting a bill for Iowa City residents who access the Courts. The County Attorney will need to charge about $400/hour to prosecute all Iowa City cases. That will be a lot, but don’t worry – it should be under $10 million! Johnson County is spending about $4 million on human services. Ummm…. I hate to break it to you, but –yeah. Mostly Iowa City. Plus we pay to house DHS and Juvenile Court. The people using those offices are largely from Swisher. (Whoops! I mean largely from Iowa City! Just seeing if you are still paying attention!) Veteran’s Affairs? Almost all Iowa City. But that is a relatively small budget. And last but certainly NOT least – we’d love the millions in TIF money you have stolen over the years! Still want “equitable funding”, Tom? Yeah, that is what I thought! It makes for a great sound bite, but in reality, your “principled stand” is all bullshit! (I know some readers are going to be upset at the fact that I wrote the word “bullshit”. I understand why you might not like this. But you know what? Sometimes, you just have to call things the way you see them. And Tom Markus’ way of doing business is bullshit.) I live in Iowa City. My home is assessed at $162,000. I pay about $1400 (44%) of my taxes to Iowa City. I pay about $550 (17%) of my taxes to Johnson County. (About 37% goes to the ICCSD.) Now that I think about it, Tom – why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and charge Iowa City residents based only upon the services they use? If your theory works on the city level, why not the individual level? I have never had a fire, and don’t wish to pay for the Fire Department (and their fancy fireplaces). So chop that off my taxes. The public art you have chosen is not to my liking – I’ll take a refund on that, too. Senior Center? I’m not even 50 yet. Streets? Frankly, the plowing is piss poor. I’m not paying full freight there. Cut my share in half. Building inspectors? Used one once, and paid a fee to do so. Count me out. Parks? I use a lot of them. But none on the west side. Put my bill for them at 75%. My kids are basically grown, so no more paying for soccer fields or swimming pools for me. Let the users pay, right Tom? Oh, and salaries! Your $160,000 salary? WAY too friggin’ high! I believe in paying a livable wage, so put me down for my share of the $50,000 I think you are worth. OK – I will freely admit that I have been cheeky in presenting these examples. But the fact remains, my examples are EVERY BIT as legitimate as your arguments re: SEATS. Iowa City residents may be paying a tiny bit too much in one area – they are paying a tiny bit too little in others. If folks are too upset by this, they have recourse! We have a great system in County government – we vote. If the majority of the people want me gone, I’m gone. You, meanwhile… there is NOTHING I can do to get rid of you. I’d have to recruit 4 candidates who all agreed to fire you. All 4 would need to win; plus that takes two election cycles. You are pretty untouchable – I’ll give you that! Markus, you should probably focus on the 44% of my taxes that is your job! If you want to be a County Supervisor, you should run for the job! Meanwhile, the city I have called home for 30 years is getting worse, not better. Tom, my friend – you have work to do. Why don’t you quit whining about Johnson County and do it? By the way, I am happy to discuss any and all of this in any public forum. I prefer a public forum, where minutes are kept or recordings are made. See, I have nothing to hide. This is public business – have the cojones to discuss it in public! I have known/visited Iowa City my whole life. I have lived in Iowa City for 30 years. I am an Iowa Citian. I am not going anywhere. You, on the other hand, are a hired gun. You are going to be here 2-3 more years, then take the retirement you want to deny your cops and firefighters and retire to someplace you consider home. And I’ll be here to clean up your mess. Well, Tom – Iowa City IS my home! I care about this city, and I care about this county. You decided to put my town ‘s future in the balance. You now have a fight on your hands. May the best man win. Disappointed, Rod Sullivan *Bowl For Kids’ Sake! Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Johnson County is holding its 39th annual Bowl For Kids’ Sake event February 23 and 24 at Colonial Lanes. This is by far the biggest fundraiser for BBBS each year, with all the money staying local to help match kids in need with caring adult mentors. The need is great…over 60 children are currently waiting to be matched! The Sullivan for Supervisor Team will be bowling once again this year. If you don’t have a team of your own, you can certainly sponsor us! To donate, just go to: *DID YOU KNOW? The FY14 Draft County budget is available on the County website. In it, Johnson County plans to subsidize Iowa City $100,000 for its federally-mandated para-transit services. 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. If you do NOT want the weekly E-mail, simply reply to this message, and type "unsubscribe" in the subject line. If you know anyone else who might be interested, just forward this message. They can E-mail me at with "subscribe" in the subject line. As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you! ---Rod


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great work here!

Mild arrogance is really an understatement.

February 21, 2013 at 8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

u mad bro?

February 21, 2013 at 8:50 AM  

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