The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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December 14, 2013

New Clinton councilmen oppose CIP plan

CLINTON — Despite reservations from the community, the Clinton City Council has approved a $10.3 million Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for the fiscal year 2015 budget.

During a public hearing Tuesday, three councilmen-elect expressed their opposition and concern with the CIP plan, saying they do not want to take on the responsibilities the current council is burdening them with.

"When the new council is seated, I myself will diligently try to convince my colleagues to take all this off. We need to start with a budget that is bare bones," councilman-elect Ed O'Neill said. "To drop $10 million in the 2015 budget is a lot to put around our necks."

Councilman-elect Grant Wilke agreed with O'Neill and added that although the city does need some kind of plan, approving the CIP is putting them into an even deeper financial hole that will be difficult to come out of.

"You do have to give them credit because we have not had a plan as far as I know, of where the city's going," Wilke said. "The problem I have though is with the money that we do not have, to vote on this. I think it's premature on putting this forward because I just don't think we can afford it."

However, the council members assured those concerned that although they approved the CIP, the city is not bound financially to any of the projects, and the future council will have the decision to move them forward or not.

"It's an important thing to do as a city, is plan where you're going and not just have knee-jerk reactions to everything that comes up," Ward 4 Councilman Paul Gassman said. "These are not commitments, these are ideas of what needs to be done in the future, when we can afford it, and all the new council that comes in will have the opportunity to vote on every one of those projects."

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