Dear Citizens of Belle Plaine:
I’m sure by the time this letter gets out, we will have all had our fill of cold weather and snow. I’m sure the coaches and players, along with the AD’s who are trying to deal with make-up schedules that have four games in five days, are getting a little tired. As are their parents. I do remember those days & then try to add in some time to get on the practice floor it becomes a very intense time for all.
Hang in there everyone, Spring is coming sometime!
The month of February for the council, the administrator, the clerks, and the Mayor means budget time. This gets more difficult each year as decisions by the state chip away at some of the funding that cities rely on. To be truthful, a few more cuts by the state will force cities like Belle Plaine to think about some severe cuts to the services we offer. The idea that we can simply raise property tax is just not accurate and money that we collect from utilities cannot be used to support some of the departments that we support out of general fund money. The council is going to have to take a serious look at where to trim this year and
maybe a real serious look at where to cut.
Another factor that makes budgeting tough is everyone at the level below the state has to complete their budgets before they know what the state legislature will be doing with taxation. No matter what, it does not make the months of February and March easy months for those involved in government agencies.
If you add in other groups I deal with such as Benton Landfill, Benton Development, East Central Iowa Council of Governments, Emergency Management, & the 911 Committee, who all have budgets to be developed, then you have an idea of why I’m really tired of budget work by the end of March.
(I’m sure the clerks & the administrator are even more tired of working on the budget than the Mayor or the Council.)
The general motto at our level is, how do you do more with less?
Yes, the Herring Hotel now belongs to the City of Belle Plaine. This brings up the question of what we will do with it. At this point in time, the City Council will look at developing an RFP to send out and see if there is a group that would like to enter into an agreement with the city to complete some Urban Renewal Development Project with this property. This project is only limited to what a private entity is willing to propose and then finance. It is also possible that this property could meet the same fate as the Iowa Hotel.
Again, if you have ideas, then let the council or the city administration know what you are thinking. The city is looking for someone to come up with a development plan that makes sense for our community. Making it into another city-owned parking lot does not improve the tax base of Belle Plaine, nor does it bring more revenue into the community.
The loss of the driver’s license testing station in Belle Plaine was a blow to the community. The City has studied this issue from all sides, and we still disagree with the conclusion of the county. It is the treasurer’s decision and we will be forced to live with it. However, after a lengthy discussion between the Mayor and another county official, we will see if after the budget season, if there isn’t a possibility for a compromise. Hang in there Belle Plaine, and in the meantime, I guess the nearest place to renew your license will be Marengo.
Registering carts and UTVs
A quick reminder that once again starting on January 1, we will be registering golf carts & UTV’s for operation on the streets of Belle Plaine, and this will include proof of insurance. Operation of a non-registered golf cart or UTV will be a code violation subject to a possible fine of $75 first offense and $100 on future offenses. Please get this taken care of before you start to ride your golf cart or UTV around the city. Golf cart registration is an annual item for each owner.
Also, your new pet licenses are due. Unfortunately, with pet licensing, the longer you wait, the more they will cost. Also, remember there are discounts for senior citizens and for pets that are spayed or neutered. Hey, Class of ’73, you are now headed into that senior discount area.
Do not forget to get out and support the local athletes in basketball & wrestling plus the band & cheer squads that also perform.
(I realize the weather has not helped this situation.) Everyone has a good season going and if you wait much longer, they will all be playing sectional, regional, or district tournaments!
As Always, “Go Plainsmen.” Remember, it is up to all of us to make Belle Plaine the best hometown in Iowa!