The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Proposal for new dog park gets council member Podzimek howling

In Chuck Wieneke, City Hall, Justin Shields, Tom Podzimek on January 30, 2009 at 10:46 am

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department is proposing to spend $125,000 to create a new dog park on city property near the Gardner Golf Course at Highway 100 and Highway 13.

At a Thursday evening budget session, council member Tom Podzimek said the spot was far removed from most of Cedar Rapids and seemed, instead, a great place for the taxpayers of Cedar Rapids to pay to provide a dog park for the use of residents of Marion and Linn County. Council member Justin Shields agreed.

Julie Sina, the city’s parks and recreation director, noted that the dog community liked the site, and she pointed out that users pay a fee to use it.

That prompted Podzimek to suggest that non-residents should pay double what city residents pay for the use of such a facility. Taxpayers in Cedar Rapids pay for all kinds of services non-residents use with little or no cost, he lectured.

Sina noted that some of the city’s recreation programs do give discounts for Cedar Rapids residents.

For his part, Shields wasn’t sure about charging high extra fees to non-residents. He said it was unclear where such a practice would stop. Should nonresidents pay double to golf or to listen to the opera? he asked.

Council member Chuck Wieneke said the answer was a local employment tax, which he said would make people who work in Cedar Rapids but live elsewhere help pay for city services and amenities.

The council said it will make big decisions in the next week or two about its budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Property taxes are expected to jump because of the loss of revenue from properties damaged in the June flood and because of increased costs to the city associated with flood recovery.

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  1. WOW….. arguing where a new dog park should be built. What is wrong with WHERE it is now located… Its a dog park for christ sakes. Drive out and look at the once flooded location it would take very little to clean it up. This is just another reason to VOTE NO on the 1% option tax

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