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

City Council ‘steam team’ leader Vernon says work underway to create an equitable way to dispense $21 million in steam conversion funds

In Alliant Energy, City Hall, Monica Vernon on May 21, 2009 at 9:41 am

City Council member Monica Vernon, the City Council’s “steam team” chief, reports that the city’s Pat Ball, utilities director, and Mike Sable, a special assistant to the city manager, are helping to work up an approach to dispense $21 million in state funds to help those in the downtown steam network convert to their own systems.

ernon said the effort involves devising an “equitable” way to hand out the funds. She said a proposal may be coming in front of the council as soon as next week.

The money consists of $5 million in state I-JOBS funds and $16 million in money set aside by the Iowa Department of Economic Development.

The City Council brought absolute clarity to the lingering downtown steam issue two weeks ago when the council voted unanimously not to allow public funds to be used to rebuild Alliant Energy’s flood-destroyed Sixth Street Generating Plant as a coal plant.

There had been a push to find federal and state money to rebuild the Alliant plant –which provided low-cost steam power to the key industries Quaker and Cargill, the two hospitals, Coe College and the downtown and near downtown — as a coal plant. Alliant, a private entity, cannot directly receive public money, and so it would have had to be allocated to the City Council for use.

The council, though, concluded that burning coal and environmental issues associated with it represented the past, not the future. Council members said a new era of taxing emissions from coal plants will make mean that coal may not be as much of a bargain as some now think it is.

  1. Mike Sable, a special assistant to the city manager

    Where did this guy pop up from? Another new position in the city manager officer that once again adds to the now bloated management budget that this form of government was supposed to reduce

  2. Well Homey, makes you wonder if anyone in the City Managers’ office is doing any type of work at all. I agree completely bloated government. Vote them out and good riddance!

  3. Does anyone beside me think it’s time to ask the City Manager for a list of all the assistants, consultants, et al; their pay; whom they are affiliated with; how long they have been employed; and for what purpose…
    And to whom do these employees report….

  4. Much like Jim Cannon until recently, now I will become very silent. They have defeated me. Or is it a strategic withdrawl? The truth is so buried in details like inside baseball, there are very few like myself that know what really happened, and what is really happening.

    First November, and finally January will be my happiest days when I can finally have some hope for the future of Cedar Rapids (where I’m now even more invested then before due to the flooding event).

    Can I wait that long? I have no other choice. Many long weekends in Lake Geneva will make it easier.

    Will some heads roll? Completely emotionless, with no revenge motive, I think it is a necessity.

    Will it be too late to undo some mistakes, and stop the culture of delay? I hope not for all taxpayers for the next several decades.

    My ownership in downtown properties solved our own steam problem quite a while ago.

    My respect is enourmous for those that have fought the fight (actually much like the heroic Polish cavalry in WW2) and I have made lifelong friends becuase of this devasting flood. Likewise, some elected former friends have quite clearly lied to me. Lie is a strong word. Could it be perception? No, not when the Gazette reports on the record the exact opposite of what I’m being told.

    Culture of delay to me at this point equals all of them except Vernon, McGrane and Shields.

    Up to this point I haven’t publically thrown the rest under the bus, and yes I did say now I will get very silent, but I will log on here and make some predications from time to time.

    How much would you like to bet me my will be accurate?

  5. Warrior, what exactly have Vernon and Shields done that is good in your estimation? Taxes increases, laying off city employees close to retirement and screwing them out of IPERS, runaway spending, an emphasis on union employees over city residents, out of state consultant fees in the millions and an increase in the size and scope of city government for which they fought to change in the name of smaller and cheaper government…. Are these the things you are reluctant to throw them under the bus for? Inquiring minds want to know?

  6. Well Taxpayer, they are in the minority, and although most of what you state above is fairly accurate, not all of it is. Vernon voted against the budget. Vernon has been very vocal about consultants. There are some other items, but the big picture to me is that these three have actually tried and listened, and I still need to have contact with council and staff, so it is difficult for me to throw them under the bus.

    Now having said that, if I didn’t show some restraint as it regards the others, it would not get posted becuase I do not have many kind words for their behavior, including some staff who are doing some things that if done my you or I would land us in either State or Federal prison.

    I see our only hope as Ron Corbett, and $300 odd thousand later floated down the river last June, I have dug deep and donated to his campaign.

    I only ask that everyone consider their votes in the next election very carefully. It will impact us for decades. I for one do not want to pay increased property taxes for the crazy ideas currently being presented. I for one do not want CR #’s 1&2 industries to be low income housing and affordable housing.

    You get the point.

  7. Thank you Warrior. I respect your viewpoint.

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