City Council scales back some funding


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Representatives from the Summer of the Arts and the Riverside Theatre, among others, met at City Hall Tuesday night and pleaded for one thing from the Iowa City City Council.

More money.

As the council continues to discuss the fiscal 2012 budget, boards, commissions, and community groups came to request funding from the City Council.

Ron Clark, the production manager of the Riverside Theater, asked the council for more help after the theater’s audience had fallen because of flooding in 2008.

“We are deserving of the city’s support,” said Clark during the meeting. “Funds from the city will help us as we rebuild our audience.”

Others like Mary Blackwood, creative director of the Landlocked Film Festival, assured the councilors that her festival was a good investment by flashing a magazine article in which the festival was mentioned.

In the end the councilors decided to stick to their original budget plan, and allocated more than $110,000 towards community groups. Both groups were funded, but neither was given exactly what it had requested.

Funds for commissions will be discussed at a later date.

“Many times, groups get less than they ask for,” said City Councilor Mike Wright.

The fiscal 2012 budget proposal would also cut funding to both the Police and Fire Departments, which was discussed earlier in January.

Each department will need to cut roughly one position if the proposed budget isn’t amended.

Fire Chief Andy Rocca said his department will lose its captain of inspections position. City officials could cut the department’s budget by about $75,000, said Rocca.

The inspections position is largely responsible for installing fire alarms and automatic fire sprinklers, and the person also takes care of many duties in establishments that serve alcohol such as crowd control, Rocca said.

“Somebody else will absorb these duties,” he said. “But the delivery time will be affected.”

The Fire Department will use attrition to deal with the cuts.

Iowa City police will lose a roughly $75,000 officer position through retirement, said Iowa City Police Chief Sam Hargadine.

“Our patrol units patrol for 24 hours, that’s three different officers,” he said. “It’s not like any 9-to-5 city job.”

Iowa City police Sgt. Denise Brotherton said the cut will limit some proactive projects, such as foot patrolling and traffic reinforcement.

“”We never know what’s going to happen. We may need several officers,” she said. “That’s where that person makes the difference.”

Last year, the police gained six officer positions, three of which are being vacantly held for officers serving in Iraq, Hargadine said. This year, the force will lose one of those six positions if the proposed budget stays intact.

Wright doesn’t see the police and fire budget cuts as an issue, especially with three officers returning in the summer.

“Even with this position gone, they’ll still have more officers on board this summer,” Wright said. “I see this as a one-year cut. Next year, the city manager will have been on board for one year and see where we can make more thoughtful and targeted reductions.”

> Share your thoughts! Click here to write a Letter to the Editor.

comments powered by Disqus

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.