Cityscape February 2014 : Page 4

President’s Viewpoint l Beware of alligators he legislature is in session and we are all waist-deep in the budget swamp with the alligators getting closer; a sure sign that spring is just around the corner. By now, most of us are likely ready to cross the 2014-2015 budget off of our to-do lists with a sigh of pained relief. Congratulations! If your budget process is anything like ours in Waterloo, I am quite certain you were tasked with making tough decisions to get it all to balance. While it is tempting to simply move on to the higher profile items on the city agenda, I recommend you share your budget balancing act stories with your legislators. Do it now, while it is fresh on your mind and they are actively considering legislation that will potentially impact your next budget process. The stories you tell about the tough deci-sions you made this year and the tough decisions you expect in the future are compelling and very likely helpful in the League’s legislative efforts. Admittedly, the latest property tax law changes are likely clouding your crystal ball a bit when it comes to forecasting future tough decisions. Property taxes have always been difficult to understand and the implementation of new changes could complicate things over the next few years. That’s why the League has begun the Spe-cial Series on Iowa’s Property Tax System. It will explain the current property tax system and the changes the 2013 legisla-tion will cause in the future. The first installment of the series begins on page 14, with an overview of the overall property tax system. The League has assembled an array of online resources and tools on this topic as well. You’ll find them in the Member Resources sec -tion of www.iowaleague.org, in the Finance category. Future series installments will dive deep into topics such as the new commercial and industrial rollback, the new multi-residential property class, assessment limitations, the new residential/ agriculture limitation and the new telecommunication property tax reduction. I think it safe to say that each of these new elements of the property tax system will eventually become features in the landscape of our respective budget swamps. It’s important to understand how these property tax elements work now, so you are better prepared should they turn into alligators getting too close for comfort. T Buck Clark | Waterloo Mayor | President, Iowa League of Cities Waterloo Mayor Buck Clark EXECUTIVE BOARD President: Buck Clark, Mayor, Waterloo, (319) 291-4301 l President-elect: Warren Woods, Mayor, Creston, (641) 782-2000 Immediate Past President: Reynold Peterson, Mayor, Spencer, (712) 580-7200 l Past President: Kris Gulick, Council Member, Cedar Rapids, (319) 286-5051 Past President: Ruth Randleman, Mayor, Carlisle, (515) 989-3224 DIRECTORS Patty Anderson, City Clerk/Administrator, Hartley, (712) 928-2240 l Lori Brown, City Clerk, Wilton, (563) 732-2115 l Ann Campbell, Mayor, Ames, (515) 239-5105 l Kay Cmelik , City Clerk/Finance Officer, Grinnell, (641) 236-2600 l Kim Downs, City Administrator, Hiawatha, (319) 393-1515 Jim Erb, Mayor, Charles City, (641) 257-6300 | Jim Ferneau, City Administrator, Burlington, (319) 753-8124 l Clint Fichter, City Manager, Avoca, (712) 343-2424 l Linda Gaul, City Clerk, Earlville, (563) 923-3365 l Gregg Mandsager, City Administrator/Clerk, Muscatine, (563) 264-1550 | Scott Peterson, City Administrator/Clerk, Lake View, (712) 657-2634 | Adam Schweers, Mayor, Carroll, (712) 792-1000 l Matt Walsh, Mayor, Council Bluffs, (712) 328-4616 LEAGUE STAFF Elisabeth Bender, Administrative Assistant l Bruce E. Bergman, General Counsel l Shannon Busby, Office Manager l Bethany Crile, Com-munications Coordinator l Aric Cudnohosky, Database Administrator l Alison R. Deiter, Accountant l Kim Gannon, Claims Examiner l Monica Blay, Administrative Assistant l Jeff Hovey, Director of Risk Services l Matt Jackson, Claims Manager | Lisa Jones, Claims Assistant l Cindy Kendall, Extension Program Specialist l Tim Kirgan, Marketing Manager l Alan Kemp, Executive Director | Jenny McKenzie, Medical-Only Claims Examiner l Dustin Miller, Director of Government Affairs l Dana Monosmith, Controller l Erin Mullenix, Research and Fiscal Analyst | Ed Morrison, Loss Control Representative Ryan Pealer, Network Administrator Heather Roberts, Director of Information Services l Dean Schade, Senior Loss Control Representative l Mickey Shields, Assistant Director of Membership Services l Ron Sinnwell, Loss Control Coordinator l Terry Timmins, General Counsel l Mark Tomb, Director of Membership Services l Amanda Werner, Administrative Assistant l Katie Wheeler, Graphic Designer | Chuck Williams, R.N., Senior Claims Examiner Tiffani Williamson, Accounting Assistant 4 Cityscape February 2014

President’s Viewpoint

Buck Clark

The legislature is in session and we are all waist-deep in the budget swamp with the alligators getting closer; a sure sign that spring is just around the corner. By now, most of us are likely ready to cross the 2014-2015 budget off of our to-do lists with a sigh of pained relief. Congratulations! If your budget process is anything like ours in Waterloo, I am quite certain you were tasked with making tough decisions to get it all to balance.<br /> <br /> While it is tempting to simply move on to the higher profile items on the city agenda, I recommend you share your budget balancing act stories with your legislators. Do it now, while it is fresh on your mind and they are actively considering legislation that will potentially impact your next budget process. The stories you tell about the tough decisions you made this year and the tough decisions you expect in the future are compelling and very likely helpful in the League’s legislative efforts.<br /> <br /> Admittedly, the latest property tax law changes are likely clouding your crystal ball a bit when it comes to forecasting future tough decisions. Property taxes have always been difficult to understand and the implementation of new changes could complicate things over the next few years. That’s why the League has begun the Special Series on Iowa’s Property Tax System. It will explain the current property tax system and the changes the 2013 legislation will cause in the future.<br /> <br /> The first installment of the series begins on page 14, with an overview of the overall property tax system. The League has assembled an array of online resources and tools on this topic as well. You’ll find them in the Member Resources section of www.iowaleague.org, in the Finance category. Future series installments will dive deep into topics such as the new commercial and industrial rollback, the new multi-residential property class, assessment limitations, the new residential/ agriculture limitation and the new telecommunication property tax reduction.<br /> <br /> I think it safe to say that each of these new elements of the property tax system will eventually become features in the landscape of our respective budget swamps. It’s important to understand how these property tax elements work now, so you are better prepared should they turn into alligators getting too close for comfort.

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