Chief of Police: ‘Marshalltown a safe community’

Gives annual report

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY
Central Business District volunteer Nate McCormick of Marshalltown is pictured briefing the city council on CBD property owner interest in establishing a Self Supporting Municipal Improvement District. McCormick said CBD met the minimum threshold criteria, and was looking forward to future discussions with decision makers. Standing behind McCormick is CBD property and business owner Jonathan Hull of Marshalltown. Hull, owner-operator of Willard’s questioned the legality of certain language in the petition used to measure support for SSMID.

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY Central Business District volunteer Nate McCormick of Marshalltown is pictured briefing the city council on CBD property owner interest in establishing a Self Supporting Municipal Improvement District. McCormick said CBD met the minimum threshold criteria, and was looking forward to future discussions with decision makers. Standing behind McCormick is CBD property and business owner Jonathan Hull of Marshalltown. Hull, owner-operator of Willard’s questioned the legality of certain language in the petition used to measure support for SSMID.

From Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper’s annual report to a vote on amending Oktemberfest’s liquor license to a public hearing on plans and specifications for the new joint police-fire headquarters, council took care of an agenda packed full of action items Monday night. Helping the council was a rare standing-room only crowd present for a wide variety of reasons. That motivated At-Large Councilor Bethany Wirin to remark “it would be nice to see this (crowd) every meeting.”

MPD Annual Report

Now in his sixth year as Marshalltown’s chief, Tupper said, “Marshalltown is a safe place to live, work, and raise a family, When we do have serious crime, our capable staff handles those crimes quickly, as we have demonstrated.”

Tupper was effusive in his praise of all MPD and 911 staff and volunteers, and said he was proud to serve with all.

Additionally, he reviewed key statistics:

— MPD personnel made 26,000 calls in 2016.

— The 911 Center, supervised by the MPD, handled 15,000 emergency 911 calls and 64,000 non-emergency calls. “This was an enormous number, considering the 911 department usually has two people on duty most of the time.” (The 911 center is located in the basement of MPD headquarters, 22 N. Center St.)

— All uniform personnel have body cameras, and Tupper said all MPD staff including administrators and detectives, will have body cameras in the near future.

“I thought it would take five years to have body cameras,” Tupper said. “We will have them in two. And all police cars have cameras. We store a significant amount of data daily.”

— Regarding community outreach, Tupper said the department prides itself in reaching out. He cited numerous “Coffee with a Cop” events and a recent effort with parishioners at the local St. Mary Catholic Church.

Tupper thanked Mayor Jim Lawrence, City Administrator Jessica Kinser, councilors and the Marshalltown community for outstanding support.

“This is the third community I have worked in … and it is the best for support of police initiatives, such as for body cameras and other equipment,” he said.

Oktemberfest Liquor license

After the third presentation in recent meetings by Oktemberfest chairperson Jennifer Hart, council voted 4-3 to amend the not-for-profit’s liquor license. The five-day license expands the area liquor (specifically beer and malt liquor) may be served. Hart and other Oktemberfest volunteers had told the council an amended license was necessary to attract more adults to events, while maintaining the “family friendly” ambience the annual festival has marketed for years. As in past meetings, several councilors expressed concerns and had questions on security and other issues. Voting yes was Gowdy, Greer, Kester, and Martin. Voting no were Hoop, Lamer and Wirin. The latter said she had received numbers comments from residents asking her not to support the amended license. Hart said license particulars had been reviewed and approved by Kinser and Tupper prior to her presentation.

Self-Supporting Municipal Improvement District

Councilors voted 5 yes to one no to one abstaining, to move the establishment of a SSMID to the Planning and Zoning Commission for additional review. CBD volunteer Nate McCormick said a lot of time and effort had been spent by volunteers educating property owners about the effort.

SSMID is a self-imposed levy upon commercial and industrial property taxable value within a district. That is, a downtown building owner would agree to have the SSMID levy added on to their property tax.

The funds collected from the levy are restricted to improving the business and cultural environment of a specific district.

SSMID’s are divided into five different zones.

Rates are proposed at varying dollar amounts per thousand of taxable value.

It ranges from a Main Street property rate of $3.60 per thousand to residential rate of $1 per thousand to industrial/banks $2.40 per thousand.

The effort is supported by the Arts and Cultural Alliance, Marshalltown Development Foundation, Vision Marshalltown, and others, several of which were in attendance to support the CBD’s efforts to establish SSMID.

However, At-Large Councilor Lamer said he would vote “no” unless CBD can demonstrate 70 percent support from impacted property owners.

“I made it clear nine months ago when this was first proposed, and I want to be clear again tonight, Lamer told SSMID supporters.

Several in the audience are opposed to the measure, as a show of hands revealed.

Tonight’s action will be the first of many steps in the process,” said Lowrance.

In other action:

— Greer asked for a moment of silence from all to honor the memory of the late Attorney Rex Ryden, who passed away last week. “Rex was one of the finest persons I have ever known and also one of the funniest, “ Greer said. Lowrance said Ryden had been involved in countless community initiatives, and he thanked the Ryden family for “loaning” him to the community. Ryden’s funeral had been held earlier in the day at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

The next regular meeting of the city council is 5:30 p.m. Sept. 11, in council chambers, Carnegie Building, 10 W. State St. For more information, contact 641-754-5701, or visit ci.marshalltown.ia.us.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com