Mayor: ‘City finances in very good shape’

Confirmed by finance director

Mayor Jim Lowrance said “city finances are in good shape” at Monday night’s council meeting. “I have heard outrageous comments … perhaps coming out of coffee groups or elsewhere … the city is broke. That is not true.”

Lowrance’s succinct comments came immediately after City Finance Director Diana Steiner presented a general fund update, which was preceded by a fiscal year ending 2018 budget schedule.

Steiner’s reports were part of the discussion section of the agenda.

No formal action can be taken under discussion or public comments.

However, remarks made during discussion may serve to motivate council or staff to place the item on the agenda in the future for formal action.

Steiner gives regular reports to the council, and will give a final report at the appropriate time.

At-Large Councilor Leon Lamer commended Steiner for her work.

“Nice job,” he said afterwards.

Steiner’s complete report can be viewed by visiting website

Council rejects truck request

Marshalltown Parks & Recreation will continue to use a 2003 Ford Extended Cab pickup with 93,000 miles.

Parks and Recreation Director Anne Selness had proposed in the consent agenda — with numerous other city expenditures — the city trade-in the truck for a Ford-F-150 Super Cab for $23,316.

Consent agenda items are approved by one motion and one vote only after each item is read by City Clerk Shari Coughenhour.

However, Fourth Ward Councilor Al Hoop asked the item be pulled from consent agenda and added to the regular agenda.

His request was granted by a 6-0 vote. It was one vote

short of the full contingent of seven, as At-Large Councilor Bethany Wirin was absent.

During discussion, Hoop expressed serious concerns about the need to trade-in the truck.

“93,000 miles is a break-in point,” he said. “Those vehicles are designed to go 200,000 miles.”

Selness said the 2003 had significant rust above one wheel, and needed tires and new brakes.

Photos supported her claims.

Selness said the new truck purchase had been budgeted previously in the department’s Capital Improvement Plan.

However, First Ward Councilor Dan Kester said he agreed with Hoop’s assessment.

After more discussion. a vote was called and the result was a 3-3, meaning the motion to purchase a new truck died due to the tie. Councilors Hoop, Kester and Lamer voted to retain the 2003 Ford, while councilors Joel Greer, Mike Gowdy and Bill Martin voted for the new truck purchase.

In other action:

— Unanimously approved a resolution setting a date for public hearing on an agreement with the Central Business District, hearing date Nov. 13. City Administrator Jessica Kinser said the organization is scheduled to received $26,000 from the council, up from $24,000.

— At-Large Councilor Martin, running for re-election on the Nov. 7 ballot, will be one of four at-large candidates participating in a Times-Republican/Iowa Valley Community College debate tonight at 6 p.m. at DeJardin Hall on the Marshalltown Community College campus. It will be moderated by Managing Editor Jeff Hutton of the T-R. The debate is free-of-charge and open to the public.

— Councilor Greer, a mayoral candidate in the Nov. 7 election, will be participating with mayoral candidate Gary Thompson Wednesday night at 6 p.m. in DeJardin Hall on the MCC campus. Hutton will moderate. The debate is free-of-charge and open to the public.

— Public Library Director Sarah Rosenblum told council author William Kent Krueger attracted approximately 100 attendees to an event at the library recently. Krueger, a New York Times best-selling author, is on tour promoting a new book and also encouraging use of public libraries. Additionally, Rosenblum said the library is nearing the one-year anniversary of Sunday openings. In previous reports, Rosenblum said Sunday attendance had been exceeding expectations.

The next regular meeting of the city council is 5:30 p.m. Nov. 13, in council chambers, Carnegie Building, 10 W. S. State St. For more information, contact 641-754-5701, or visit


Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or