Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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March 8, 2013

Sullivan’s Salvos 3/12/13 In this edition: *RIP Lori Bears *Saint Patrick’s Day *Bob Sullivan *Congratulations John Etheridge! *Congratulations Kevin Hackathorn! *Spring Break *Conference Boards *Did You Know? *RIP Lori Bears Johnson County lost a shining star this week with the passing of Lori Bears. Lori was a wonderful human being – one of the kindest people I’ve ever known. A great volunteer and a great advocate. She taught many people many lessons; I include myself in that group. No services are planned - memorials can be sent to the Shelter House. RIP, Lori. You will be missed! *Saint Patrick’s Day Happy St. Patty’s Day on March 17! St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year. While not an “official” holiday, this day has long been celebrated heartily by my Irish family. The tradition lives on… I almost always take St. Patrick’s Day off work. March 17 is a Sunday this year, so I get off easy. Meanwhile, I hope each and every one of you is touched by a little luck o’ the Irish! *Bob Sullivan March 17 holds a special place in my heart that goes beyond St. Patrick’s Day. That was also the birthday of my late father, Bob Sullivan. Dad was a proud union man, Hawkeye fan, and Irishman. We were father and son, but also best friends. I can honestly say he was probably the most fun person I have ever known. Unfortunately, he left this world much too soon, and never got the chance to meet any of his nine grandchildren. I miss him every single day, but especially on St. Patty’s Day. If you knew my dad and you are reading this – send me an e-mail some time. I could really use a little time swapping stories and reminiscing. And, if you are looking for an extra toast on St. Patrick’s Day, allow me to suggest that you raise a glass to Bob Sullivan. Happy birthday, Dad. *Congratulations John Etheridge! The election results are in, and Johnson County has a new member of the Board of Supervisors. Congratulations to John Etheridge, who was elected with 51% of the vote. Turnout was an abysmal 6.5% - probably not helped by the schools having a snow day. I was very disappointed by the low turnout, and very disappointed that Terry Dahms lost. Terry is a great guy, and I feel bad for him. Meanwhile, Mr. Etheridge is the first Republican Supervisor to be elected in Johnson County since 1958! We have only just met, but I look forward to getting to know him. Now the real work begins! Mr. Etheridge can be sworn in on March 11 (following the canvass of votes), and his first regular Board Meeting is March 12! *Congratulations Kevin Hackathorn! Congratulations to Secondary Roads Maintenance Superintendent Kevin Hackathorn, who is retiring after 40 years of service to Johnson County. Not only does Kevin have one of the most important jobs in the whole county – he is also one of the best people in the whole county! I REALLY like and respect Kevin, and I am REALLY going to miss him! Thanks, Kevin, for 40 years of amazing service! You have done a very difficult job very well for a very long time! I appreciate it! Best of luck in your retirement! *Spring Break Most Johnson County students are on Spring Break this week. I hope that those of you who are travelling have safe and enjoyable trips! Come back refreshed! *Conference Boards The City and County Conference Boards met recently to discuss the performances and budgets of the Iowa City and Johnson County Assessors. Assessors are the folks who determine the value of all our taxable real estate. Every county has an Assessor; so do several of the larger cities. In some areas, notably Des Moines/Polk County and Waterloo/Black Hawk County, the City Assessor’s Office has been absorbed by the County Assessor’s Office. The Iowa City Assessor handles all the property inside Iowa City proper; the Johnson County Assessor does everything else. The IC Assessor is responsible for about $4.8 billion in appraised value; the JC Assessor is responsible for about $5.7 billion. Both serve a little over 65,000 residents. Houses, businesses, farms and the like all go up and down in value. Because Johnson County has historically been viewed as a very good place to live, property values here have gone up steadily. While property values across the country crashed as the housing bubble broke, property values in Johnson County have remained fairly flat. Property tax-levying governmental units (county, cities, schools) are represented on the Conference Boards. So the IC Assessor’s Office is overseen by Johnson County, Iowa City, and the ICCSD. The JC Assessor’s Office is overseen by Johnson County, ten cities (all but IC), and ten school districts (including the ICCSD). Now for some very good news: Assessors are measured for accuracy and ranked every year. The IC Assessor’s Office ranked #3 in the state out of about 115 offices. The JC Assessor’s Office ranked #2. That is correct – Johnson County was number two! In all my years as a Supervisor, they have finished number 1 three times, number 2 four times, and number 3 once. In addition to being number one as a simple matter of pride, we should be extremely pleased by these results. This means that property tax payers are likely paying their fair share. You are not likely paying too much, nor are you paying too little, relative to all property tax payers. That is a very good thing. We are being well served by our Assessors. Congratulations to Iowa City Assessor Denny Baldridge, Johnson County Assessor Bill Greazel, and all their employees on these tremendous accomplishments! *DID YOU KNOW? There are more Americans of Irish origin than there are Irish in Ireland. (36 million Americans claimed Irish ancestry in 2008; the population of Ireland was 4.4 million at the time.) 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


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