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Candidate believes in development for Coralville

BY JULIA DAVIS | OCTOBER 16, 2013 5:00 AM

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John Weber believes that the Coralville City Council   would benefit from his experience in the business world and wants to make sure development remains a central priority.

Weber, a nearly 30-year veteran at Hewlett-Packard, currently serves as president and partner of the Luxe Zone, 1303 Fifth St., in Coralville.

And as a member of the city’s commercial community, he said that he has a lot invested in how the city handles expansion and growth, dubbing development as his campaign’s main focus.

“The development and growth of the city is extremely important, and things are developing quite nicely,” he said. “I think it’s not only important for Coralville but for the whole corridor area, from Cedar Rapids to North Liberty to Iowa City.”

Coralville Mayor Jim Fausett expressed similar thoughts in regards to the development, saying that he hopes to see the next City Council   continues to work on economic development.

But with this development comes additional spending, adding on to Coralville’s debt obligations.  

Despite a growing deficit, however, Weber said he is very confident in the city’s current plan to deal with the debt.

“If anyone has a brain, or has any business sense, they can see that [the development payment strategy] is a very sound plan,” he said. “There was a plan from day one on how to pay for all the development.”

Although labeling the city’s debt as “substantial,” Tony Roetlin, Coralville's finance director, said he believes that the council has devoted the necessary time and energy to the issue.

In a June 7 report, Moody’s Investors Service lowered a number of bond ratings for the city, furthering a several-year pattern.

The report outlined that the city needs to cut its nearly $279 million outstanding debt obligations — the third highest in the state as of last June.

“With the Moody’s downgrade and with the amount of debt that there is, there’s obviously always a need to focus on addressing it,” Roetlin said. “I think the existing council has succeeded in focusing on it, and I think that really it’s a part of the whole equation and it’s being discussed, and will continue to be discussed.”

Weber also outlined his business experience as a helpful asset in working to address the city’s financial situation.

“I think my background in being not only a small business owner, but also working in the corporate world, and being somebody who has dealt with budgets and debts, and setting and processing all of those things, makes me a very qualified candidate for this particular council,” he said.

As a participant in the Coralville commercial sector, Weber views the development as an integral step towards removing Coralville from its current situation into a more profitable period.

“In talking with a lot of residents here, [the development] is why a lot of them have moved to Coralville, because of the amenities that all of those developments bring, and there’s quite a nice shining city emerging from all of them,” he said.


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