To the Iowa City Manager candidates: Welcome! You've picked a delightful time to come and visit--sorry about the snow. Iowa City is a great community and has been my favorite place for the last 8 years of my life. Who wouldn't want to live in a college town with the cosmopolitan feel of a bigger city and the commute time of a small town? A city where you can live rurally, suburbanly, or urbanly. A city full of art and music. A river runs through it. More parks and trails than you can shake a stick at. Vibrant. A great mix of young and old. The best health care in the state. One of the most diverse communities in Iowa per capita.
Our fair city has some administrative problems that you will no doubt enjoy working through with the residents, city departments and city council to solve.
- short supplies of salt hamper plowing and street maintenance
- University and City relations in need of repair
- a workable affordable housing policy needed
- a downtown that needs branding
- a trail system that needs connecting
- balancing the needs of bicyclists with those of motorists and pedestrians
- a Senior Center that needs to be more senior centered
- budget policies that keep 30% of taxes back for "rainy days"
- a fire station that needs to be built and staffed
- a police department that needs staff
- concerns about panhandlers, students, troubling downtown businesses
- A community shelter that is insufficent to meet the needs of the homeless
- An economy that is based on services much more than production
- a tax base that will be adversely affected if the state changes the formula for commercial taxation
- the influence of non-residents on city policy (e.g., business owners who work in Iowa City but live outside the city limits and absentee landowners)
- more stuff for families, kids, students, seniors, and tourists to do
These are a handful of the many things you'll likely get an earful of during your visit in meetings and interviews. To each of you, good luck and thanks for putting up with us. I hope you like what you see and leave with the sense that your experience is important to our future. And if you are not chosen, don't take it badly, Iowa City folks just want it all.