Martin: I always look for a ‘win-win’ situation

To get things things done in city government, Bill Martin, serving in his first term as at-large councilor, believes in listening, developing personal relationships, and working in partnership.

On the Nov. 7 ballot for re-election, he is convinced Marshall Economic Development, and partners, in which the city was a critical one, followed that methodology and convinced Alliant Energy, despite stiff state-wide competition, to build a state-of-the art, gas-fired electricity generating plant in Marshalltown.

It broke ground July 15, 2014, cost nearly $650 million to build, and pumped $47.3 million into the Marshalltown economy.

At its peak, 1,300 construction workers were on site.

It significantly increased the amount of natural gas flowing into Marshalltown, benefiting local businesses, industry, and residential customers.

Officially, it is known as the Marshalltown Generating Station.

Aptly named, it started generating power April 1 not only for Marshalltown customers, but for other Alliant customers statewide.

Martin, 71, is a 46-year resident who, with family, also invested in Marshalltown.

“From the beginning, I have invested in this community,” he said.

From being a property owner to serving as an American Red Cross volunteer for 35 years, to being an original board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters, Martin has believed in investing where he lives and works.

He and wife, Alix, moved to Marshalltown from Anamosa in 1971, when he accepted a job offer from the Marshalltown Community School District. Shortly thereafter, Alix accepted a position as an educator too.

A number of years later they started a family.

Martin’s four-way test of governance is to invest, be fair, consistent, and responsive.

From MCSD he moved to Iowa Valley Community College District for a number of years followed by retirement.

City government had interested him, so in November, 2013, he was successful in his first run for local public office.

He and fellow at-large councilor Bethany Wirin were second and first place respectively, in vote totals for two at-large seats, beating out four other candidates.

Martin, a Monona native, received 1,096 votes, or nearly 29 percent. Wirin, running for her third four-year term received 1,318 votes or 34 percent. The others split the remaining 1,397 votes.

Martin said he looks for a “win-win” in making decisions.

“If we can satisfy the taxpayer, and move the city ahead economically and soundly, then I am all for it,” he said. “My tastes are very simple, I like the best we can afford.”

The 1968 Coe College graduate said he liked to do his own research to be best informed on issues coming before the council.

“I go beyond what I am given,” he said. “If necessary, I visit department heads … and that has turned up a lot of things which lead to more specific questions.”

In addition to the MGS, Martin cited other public improvements under construction, completed, or being planned such as:

• The new, joint police and fire department headquarters currently under construction in the 900 block of South Second Street. (The facility will replace the current police and fire facilities which were judged to be cost prohibitive to repair by a Citizens Advisory Committee).

• Voted to fund more than $2 million in city street improvements for the second consecutive year.

• Budgeted to allow city to demolish five “dilapidated and dangerous” residential structures last year, with more planned in future.

• Budgeted to allow city to hire a full-time “nuisance” officer who will enforce existing ordinances.

• Working with other councilors and city staff in closely monitoring proposed improvements on Iowa Highway 14. Resurfacing, improved visual appearance on 3rd Avenue, and other upgrades are being proposed.

• Voted with other councilors to allocate funds to MED to update its housing study. The organization had worked with numerous other community partners to create more housing opportunities at all income levels.

• Voted with six other councilors to support a resolution allowing a team of grant writers to pursue a $475,000 State of Iowa “Iowa Great Places” grant, that if approved, could significantly reduce $3.8 million in estimated renovation costs at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

“My credo is this: Always striving for Marshalltown to be the best place to live, work and recreate.”


Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or