Metro Briefs

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 19, 2009 7:44 AM

Supervisors discuss local-option tax

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors discussed how to spend a projected $4 million that the county could receive from a local-option sales tax on Wednesday.

The supervisors discussed a number of unincorporated areas they could invest the revenues in if the sales tax is passed in parts of the county. Four possible options the supervisors discussed were property tax relief, repair to roads and bridges, a new Justice Center, and mental-health care.

The supervisors seemed in unanimous agreement that property tax relief and repairing roads and bridges were the most important areas to consider.

“I don’t think you could have a worse time to propose a sales tax,” Board Chairman Terrence Neuzil said. “If we have to have one, it would be best to put it all toward property tax.”

The Iowa City City Council is expected to decide on Feb. 24 if it will place the local-option sales tax on a ballot. If so, there will be a vote on in May.

Board members said they want to come to a consensus about what will be on the ballot for the unincorporated areas by Feb. 25. The supervisors also want to determine how the money would be spread across the county and the ballot language by Feb. 26.

The supervisors would like to see each city implement the tax for three years.

Because Iowa City accounts for over 50 percent of Johnson County’s population, if the city decides to vote on the sales tax it would put the tax on ballots of every city in the county. But the tax can pass in some cities, though not in others.

— Shane Ersilend

Fry names witnesses

Attorneys for 22-year-old Curtis Fry — accused of killing a man last year — notified the court of three additional witnesses for his upcoming trial, including a UI psychiatrist.

Court records show the defense will call UI Hospitals and Clinics psychiatrist Scott Stuart, Steve Exley-Schuman of the Iowa City Public Defender’s Office, and Paul Beatty of Muscatine.

Fry, of Wilton, Iowa, is represented by public defenders Peter Persaud and Quint Meyerdirk.

Police arrested Fry in February 2008, charging him with second-degree murder. Fry was allegedly heavily intoxicated the night of Feb. 7, 2008 — his 21st birthday — when he entered the apartment of 75-year-old Patrick McEwen on South Van Buren Street and beat him to death.

Autopsy results show McEwen suffered from numerous injuries to his head and ribs and showed defensive wounds to his hands.

Fry’s final trial conference is Feb. 25. His trial is set to begin on March 9.
Second-degree murder is a Class B felony. If convicted, Fry faces 50 years in prison.

— by Olivia Moran

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