Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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January 31, 2019

Sullivan’s Salvos     2/5/19

In this edition:

*Brutal Weather!
*Mayors Rock!
*2020 Caucus!
*Bowl For Kids Sake
*Did You Know?

*Brutal Weather!
         A mild December gave way to a remarkably cold and snowy January! Folks, wind chills of below zero really ARE dangerous! If the air temp is 5 degrees and there is a 15 mph wind, it only takes 15 minutes to contract frostbite! And it has been much colder and windier here!

         Please be careful and take extra precautions. Be safe, and we’ll get through this!

         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 $7.5 billion in appraised value; the JC Assessor is responsible for about $8.5 billion. Both serve about 75,000 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 remained fairly flat, and started to increase again very quickly.
         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 JC Assessor’s Office ranked #1 in the state out of about 115 offices. The IC Assessor’s Office ranked #2. That is correct – Iowa City and Johnson County were numbers one and two! (We take this for granted, because both offices are near the very top every year!)

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 Brad Comer, Johnson County Assessor Tom Van Buer, and all their employees on these tremendous accomplishments! 

*Mayors Rock!
         I was thinking recently about the small-town Mayors in Johnson County. They are a remarkable group of people!

         With all due respect to the Mayors of our larger cities – all fine people – small town Mayors have VERY difficult jobs! They lack the staff support of their colleagues in larger cities, yet expectations can be just as high. They serve on innumerable committees, and would amaze you with their vast knowledge!

         I am not certain why these folks are not held in higher regard. Too many people think “Mayor” and conjure up an image such as the bumbling Mayor Quimby on the Simpsons. I am here to tell you, that is just not the case!

The stories are too numerous to mention. Loose dog? Call the Mayor. Incorrect water bill? Call the Mayor. Noisy neighbors? Call the Mayor. Does not fit neatly into any other category? Call the Mayor!

         These folks do phenomenal work for very low pay. The headaches are many, and the appreciation rare. I believe the current group is as good as any we’ve ever had. So, a special shout out to:

Christopher Taylor, Swisher; Louise From, University Heights; Tim Hennes, Oxford; Steve Berner, Tiffin; Steve Stange, Solon; Tim Kemp, Hills; and Jonathon Green, Lone Tree. Thank you to every member of this outstanding group!

*2020 Caucus!
Not that anyone asked, but here is the debut of my Top 25 for 2020! Just like in sports, the Top 25 can change. As a matter of fact, I put this out on Facebook a while ago. It has changed a bit since! These are just my current opinions. What do you think?

Thoughts? Fair warning; please treat all of these folks with respect. Any one of them could be our nominee. OK. Not Howard Schultz. You can disrespect him. He deserves no respect. As a matter of fact, PLEASE disrespect him.  J  OK. Have fun!

*Bowl For Kid’s Sake
The Sullivan for Supervisor team is once again raising money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County by Bowling For Kids’ Sake on Saturday, February 23.

Bowl for Kids' Sake is Big Brothers Big Sisters largest national fundraiser, raising over $20 million annually for children in need across the country. Because of Bowl for Kids' Sake, more Bigs and Littles can be paired up, more friendships can be created and improved outlooks on life can be started.

         To donate, see:

*DID YOU KNOW?  5 cities in Johnson County have a City Manager or Administrator (Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty, Tiffin, and Solon), while 5 cities do not (Hills, Swisher, Shueyville, Lone Tree, and University Heights). West Branch, which has a single subdivision in Johnson County, also has a City Manager.

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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