Taxpayers should be concerned

First, I want to disclose that my wife is a current team member at Iowa River Hospice. Second, I want to disclose that both of my late parents spent their final days at the Iowa River Hospice House.

I have personally experienced the enormous value of the Iowa River Hospice House and its staff. I’ve spent the majority of two days with my mother sitting in the calm of the porch and having some meaningful, reflective conversations that will stay with me for the remainder of my life.  

Much has been written and discussed about the destructive impact that the City of Marshalltown’s proposed 5th Avenue road expansion will have on the peace and tranquility currently available at the Iowa River Hospice House location. I want to approach this proposed encroachment from the perspective of a Marshalltown taxpayer and from the perspective of the fiscal responsibility of a Marshalltown City Councilperson.

Why is this roadway expansion project even being considered?  

Is it mandated by code or law? No. It has been stated that it is not legally required.  

Does it add significant value to the housing project it connects with or to the housing project’s landowner property values? I’ve heard no expression of such benefit.  

Then why is the Marshalltown City Council proposing to spend taxpayer dollars to complete this unnecessary project? The only response I’ve heard to this absolutely fundamental question is fairness. Apparently, a road extension has been promised to provide a second outlet to the Cross Country Estates housing development and it’s been said that fairness necessitates the 5th Avenue extension investment that will negatively impact the Iowa River Hospice’s environment.

If council members were proposing to spend their own money and wanted to be their perception of “fair”, that would be their prerogative. However, they’re spending Marshalltown taxpayer’s money. Each proposal brought before the Marshalltown City Council should stand or fall on its own merits including the cost/benefit analysis. Isn’t that a fundamental fiscal responsibility of a public servant?

If you are a Marshalltown taxpayer, you should be concerned about this proposed use of your dollars. Let your councilperson know that you expect them to use your money wisely and that you demand that each of their decisions be made on the relative merits of each proposal and not on any personal perceptions or pre-dispositions.


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