The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

January 25, 2014

Former City Council members speak out

We, the four 2010-2013 council members who were elected in November of 2009, feel that much of the progress in the city’s financial situation, structure and procedures, infrastructure and facilities, the community’s business and residential growth, and improvements in health and wellness have been overlooked and overshadowed by the continuous emphasis on the unfortunate events of the EMS lawsuits, the difficulty in implementation of the new solid waste system, and the need for sewer and solid waste rate increases.

We therefore have pulled together some of the successful and positive projects and events resulting from the work and decisions of the entire 2010-2013 years by Mayor(s), Council and dedicated city staff.

FINANCIAL

• Discovery of accounting inadequacies and actual lack of funds assumed available was made by the then new City Administrator, in October 2009. He began to make systems and personnel changes and corrections immediately. The situation was desperate enough that at one point money had to be borrowed from a local bank to meet payroll — but just that one time.

This administrator and the Council acted swiftly to reduce some costs immediately in 2010, and through budgeting the next three years to improve the financial situation.

• Moody’s September 2013 report shows an A2 rating with comments regarding improvement in financial status due to sale of the municipal dock and a manageable debt burden, affected somewhat by condition of solid waste funds and underfunded cost-sharing pension plan.

• The practice of allowing unlimited comp time accrual by employees was eliminated, requiring comp time to be used within a certain time or accrual of only a limited amount as in private businesses, thus eliminating large amounts accumulated over years to be paid upon resignation or retirement.

• New sewer and solid waste rates were established through the first (in known history) use by the city of professional studies to assure adequate services and accurate costs to citizens for those services. Prior inadequate billing and collection practices were replaced by new systems.

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Poll

With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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