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Archive for May, 2011

Bob appeared before the West Des Moines City Council this evening with one of his regular updates about the Polk County Board Supervisors’ actions benefiting the city. He has been making regular appearances and updates to the City Council since the beginning of his first term in 2001.

He detailed recent allocations to West Des Moines, including $27,000 for human services programs, $12,000 for the Booster Pack children’s nutrition program, and funds for the dollars for Scholars, the Teen Center rock climbing wall and the historical society, to name a few of the programs in West Des Moines that are assisted by Polk County.

Bob said he has continued to weigh in on the current legislative debate over reshaping the state’s property tax system. He expressed his support for lower commercial property taxes but favors an approach that will not hurt the city’s budget.  He noted that Gov. Terry Branstad’s plan as written will hit West Des Moines especially hard, resulting in a loss of approximately 25 percent of the city’s revenue. It was suggested by the Governor’s office that options be considered where the state would fund some municipal unfunded mandates. In working with West Des Moines city staff, Bob confirmed that there are not enough unfunded mandates applying to West Des Moines that could make up the revenue shortfall the city would experience under the current proposal. “I think we all agree,” he said, “that the Governor is on the right track, but having the voices of economic engines like West Des Moines contributing to the solution will be vital.”

He expressed appreciation to Mayor Steve Gaer and Councilman Russ Trimble, two new members on the county’s Homeless Coordinating Council. The council has been especially focused recently on providing services for the chonically homeless on the riverbank, “housing first” option and mental health options within the new Central Iowa Shelter.

Bob also outlined the latest efforts of the panel responsible for redrawing the county’s five supervisor districts following the 2010 census. Bob advised that his representative on the redictricting commission is WDM resident, Brian Rickert,  “I have really enjoyed working with the West Des Moines staff, your elected officials, volunteers and residents. I hope I’ll get to keep West Des Moines as the lines are redrawn, It’s a great city,” he said.

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