Outstanding County bond debt

May 25, 2017

At the end of Fiscal Year 2009, Linn County had eight dollars ($8.oo) in net bonded debt – see page 68. Once the $7.3M bonds are sold (see below), Linn County will have about $25M in bond debt. I was wondering how we accumulated this bond debt so I reviewed the County’s bond book maintained by my office. The breakdown by project/public purpose is below. Please let me know if you have any questions. –Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Project/Public Purpose Principal & Interest Payments
Elections Depot $710,000
County Buildings $1,540,000
Building Improvements $7,450,000
Juvenile Courthouse $2,170,000
Joint Communications System $5,285,000
Monroe Township Fire Station $490,000
Total $17,645,000
G O Urban Renewal 2017A $7,300,000
TOTAL $24,945,000

For more information, contact:

Dawn Jindrich

Budget Director

(319) 892-5116

dawn.jindrich

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 12, 2017

Linn County Receives Aaa Bond Rating on General Obligation Bonds

LINN COUNTY, IA – May 12, 2017 – Moody’s Investors Service has announced it has assigned a Aaa rating to Linn County’s $7.3 million Taxable General Obligation Urban Renewal County Purpose Bonds, Series 2017A. Concurrently, Moody’s maintains the Aaa rating on the County’s outstanding general obligation unlimited tax (GOULT) debt. The Aaa rating is the highest rating possible.

The Series 2017A bonds will be used to finance various urban renewal projects that include Linn County’s acquisition of approximately 485 acres of property near Squaw Creek Park. Linn County expects that acquisition of the property and use for recreation and conservation purposes will contribute to the well-being of the County’s residents and will make the County a more attractive location for new commercial and industrial enterprises.

“This rating is a reflection of our long-standing commitment to the County’s financial health and our strategic goal to demonstrate accountability to taxpayers,” said Linn County Budget Director Dawn Jindrich.

Following issuance of the Series 2017A bonds, Linn County will have $25.2 million of GOULT debt outstanding. The Aaa rating reflects the county’s large tax base that is anchored by the diverse and stable economy of the City of Cedar Rapids (Aa1 stable), Linn County’s sound financial operations, healthy reserves, and low debt and pension burden with manageable fixed costs.

According to Moody’s, the stable outlook reflects Moody’s expectation that Linn County’s credit quality will remain strong due to the strength of the regional economy and the health of the county’s financial operations. The report from Moody’s is available at www.moodys.com/researchandratings.

Electronic payments v paper checks

May 23, 2017

On 8/1/1977, I went on active duty in the US Army and the Army ordered me to fill out a direct deposit form for my monthly paycheck. Fast forward 40 years and Linn County still pays some employees and vendors via paper check. The attachment represents what occurs when paper checks do not get cashed.

The law and/or the County’s contracts with the unions prevent us from requiring every employee to signup for electronic payments. And while the Board of Supervisors could create a policy whereby we only do business with vendors who accept electronic payments, they have not done so yet.

Does your employer require its vendors to accept electronic payments? If yes, when did they make it a requirement? Do you work for a government agency which has required its vendors to accept electronic payments? If yes, when did you make it a requirement? Within the last couple of years, a number of vendors have signed up for electronic payments; however, as the attachment indicates – not all. -Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor
20170428075905838.pdf

Learn how the new Voter ID law will affect you

May 19, 2017

If you did not attend our open houses on the new Voter ID law earlier this week, then you will have another opportunity to see our presentation at 9am on Monday, May 22nd, during the Linn County Board of Supervisors meeting – see attached agenda. The Board meetings are open to the public and Election Services employees will be around after the presentation to answer your questions. Please join us. –Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

5-22 Board of Supervisors Agenda.pdf

MEDIA ADVISORY: Linn County Board of Supervisors to Discuss Naming the New Public Health and Child and Youth Development Services Building

May 19, 2017

Sounds like the discussion is over and the decision has been made on naming the building after Dr. Percy and Lileah Harris. I agree with the decision.

You can read about the lives of Dr. Harris here and of Mrs. Harris’ here. Search www.thegazette.com if you want to read more stories about them.

I met them both. They were unique contributors to our community. We are a better place because of them. -Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Linn County Board of Supervisors to Discuss Naming the New Linn County Public Health and Child and Youth Development Services Building

 CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – May 19, 2017 – The Linn County Board of Supervisors will discuss and decide on the naming of the new Linn County Public Health and Child and Youth Development Services Building after Dr. Percy and Lileah Harris during the Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday, May 22 at 9:00 a.m. at the Jean Oxley Linn County Public Service Center, 935 Second St. SW, Cedar Rapids.

Linn County and OPN Architects are nearing completion of the design of the approximately 55,000 square foot building that will be built on county-owned land near the Medical District and NewBo neighborhoods. Linn County employees and community members, including the Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association, provided significant input for the design of the building and associated uses of the site.

OPN Architects will provide an update on the building project at the meeting.

For more information, contact:  Barbara Schmitz – Executive Assistant to the Board of Supervisors – 319-892-5101 – barbara.schmitz@linncounty.org

 

NEWS RELEASE: Linn County Temporary Redistricting Commission Appointed

May 17, 2017

Linn County Temporary Redistricting Commission Appointed

LINN COUNTY, IA – May 17, 2017 – A five-member temporary redistricting commission was appointed this week by the Linn County Board of Supervisors. Iowa code instructs the Board of Supervisors to establish the Commission by May 15, 2017 following the November 2016 election where Linn County voters voted to reduce the membership of the Linn County Board of Supervisors from five to three.

According to Iowa code, the members of the Board of Supervisors in the majority party appoint the majority number of commission members, while the Board minority party member(s) appoints the minority number of commission members.

The temporary redistricting commission members are:

Ray Dochterman

Cindy Golding

Sarah Halbrook

Dave Mahachek

Nate Willems

Linn County is currently represented by Board of Supervisor districts under “Plan 3”. According to Iowa code, new supervisor districts must be designated by December 15, 2017, unless a valid petition is filed by June 1, 2017 requesting a special election on the representation plan.

All three supervisor seats will be on the ballot during the general election in November 2018. The three member Board of Supervisors will take office January 2, 2019.

For more information, contact:  Barbara Schmitz – Executive Assistant to the Board of Supervisors – 319-892-5101 – barbara.schmitz@linncounty.org

 

Learn about the new Voter ID law now

May 16, 2017
Today, over 100 people attended an informational session on the new Voter ID law. We have additional one hour sessions available on Wednesday, May 17th from 3 – 6 PM and on Thursday, May 18th from 4 – 7 PM.

These informational sessions cover the new Voter ID law, ePollbooks, as well as, information on the 2016 General Election and upcoming Elections. Sessions are targeted for current and prospective Precinct Election Officials (poll workers), the public, elected officials, and the media. Sessions will be held at the Linn County Public Service Center at 935 2nd Ave SW on the 2nd floor across from the main Elections Office.

You do not need to be present for the whole three hours. It is a drop-in and look around event. Someone will be speaking at 15 minutes after the hour. We are encouraging interested individuals to sign up at: www.signupgenius.com/go/4090f4fa8aa28a7f49-peoopen so that we can better plan for how many to expect. Please join us. –Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

County going from 5 to 3 supervisor districts in 2019

May 13, 2017

Looks like the Linn County Board of Supervisors is going to begin the task of dividing the County into three equally populated districts – see item in bold red below. I thought we would have a special election to pick a supervisor representation plan in August, but the June 1st deadline for the petitioners to submit a petition is fast approaching and I have not seen any signature gathering occurring.

Why appoint a Temporary County Redistricting Commission now? The June 2018 primary election is a "short" thirteen months away and the incumbent supervisors (and others including yours truly) are going to want to know who is included in the district they will potentially be representing. Which supervisors will become immediate competitors and which will enjoy no obvious competition will be decided by a few lines on a map?

I anticipate lots of competition and a vigorous public debate in the three 2018 supervisor races. After all, our county supervisors are paid over $100K per year with great benefits and a pension for a position that seems to be treated as a part-time job by one or more supervisors. And since no candidate will have the advantage of a straight party ballot, we might even see a few independents nominated by petition on the ballot. Heck, maybe an independent will get elected?

Hopefully, the public debate will focus on county policy, county operations, and county services and NOT on assassinating each other’s character. As we have seen on the national stage, character assassination is the norm when the facts are scarce.

Have you thought about running for county supervisor? Or public office? It is not too late to consider a run for school board or city office yet this year. And it is not too early to consider running for office in 2018 as I have already talked to candidates campaigning for the 2018 election.

About fifty thousand (50,000) adults in Linn County did not vote in the November 2016 general election. That fact reinforces my conclusion that the problem with our democracy is not that too many people are involved; on the contrary, not enough people are involved. -Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

5-15 Board of Supervisors Agenda.pdf

County uses thousands of vendors

May 11, 2017

Linn County made payments to almost four thousand vendors in Fiscal Year 2016 (7/1/2015 – 6/30/2016). Included in the payments to vendors are reimbursements to employees and one-time payments to precinct election workers (pollworkers).

Maybe the County uses too many vendors. What do you think? After reviewing the data in the attachment, do you see any opportunities to take bids to reduce the number of vendors and reduce our overall costs? Please let me know. -Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Vendor amount for 2016.xls

HF516 implementation and TBD

May 10, 2017

As you may have read, the Governor signed House File 516 – the Voter ID bill last week. Some of the initial provisions of HF516 take effect on 7/1/2017, i.e., about 50 days from now. My team is holding an initial training session on the law next week and we will be referencing the attachments from the Secretary of State … so if you are interested, sign-up at www.signupgenius.com/go/4090f4fa8aa28a7f49-peoopen

If you reside in Linn County, why not become a PEO (precinct election official) so you can understand the law and administer elections in your precinct. Priority seating will be given to Linn County’s PEOs. –Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Misc Provisions Chart HF 516.docx

Voter Integrity Bill – General Timeframe.docx

Voter Registration – HF 516 Implementation.docx

Voter ID – HF 516 Implementation.docx

Absentee Analysis – 2017 Integrity Act.docx

Sheriff brings in lots of revenue

April 25, 2017

As the attachment indicates, the Office of Linn County Sheriff brings in lots of revenue. That’s good because the County will spend about 26% of its annual (FY2017) budget on Public Safety & Legal Services.

Counties and cities spend a lot of tax dollars on public safety and legal services. Is there a way to reduce costs and maintain services? Can anything be consolidated? How much can we afford to spend or not spend? -Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

20170425134352206.pdf


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