Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/933309

Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 24, 2014

Rogerson says one more person needed

Riverside City Council talks cell phones, office help
By Andy Hallman | Dec 04, 2012
Riverside City Engineer Mike Hart (left) speaks with city councilors Kevin Kiene, Bob Schneider and Nate Kasdorf about the new FEMA floodplain map. The council approved the first reading of an ordinance to adopt the new map.

RIVERSIDE — While looking through the city’s expenditures, Riverside City Councilor Nate Kasdorf saw that the city pays a cell phone stipend to City Administrator Rusty Rogerson and City Clerk Lory Young. Rogerson and Young each receive a monthly cell phone stipend of $50.
Kasdorf asked why the two city hall employees receive a stipend for their cell phone bills. He said it would make more sense for the city to purchase cell phones for its employees. He believed it would cut in half the money the city spends on cell phones.
Rogerson said purchasing a separate cell phone would double the cost of what the city is paying now. He said the $50 stipend is significantly lower than what the city gave to its previous city administrator, Tina Thomas, who received a monthly stipend of $90.
In other news, Rogerson spoke about how many employees should be in the office. He’s heard many councilors say that city hall is a “two-person job.” Rogerson said that only rarely in the past 13 years has city hall been staffed by only two people. Most of the time the city had two full-time office employees plus a part-timer, and at one time it had as many as four employees.  
The city is currently paying Kalona City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh to perform some consulting for the city. Councilor Ralph Schnoebelen said he wants to keep Schlabaugh on as a consultant for the near future.
Rogerson wrote in a memorandum to the council, “I am disappointed that very few council persons have taken the time to learn what has been taking place since I began and issues that we are currently dealing with. One of my personal goals is to help guide Riverside into a strong financial position and have the city be very cost-efficient. I have implemented some changes that will save the city thousands of dollars in the future, yet I feel like the council is micro-managing staffing levels for city hall without having any input from the person you will hold responsible.”
The council also talked about the prospect of having its property levy frozen by the Iowa Legislature. Rogerson said there is a movement in the Legislature to freeze all municipal levies at their current levels for up to six years.
Riverside has the lowest property tax rate of any town in the county at $5.10 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Rogerson said the city’s rate is among the lowest in the entire state. If the Legislature freezes the city levy, Riverside could be in a precarious position. The city doesn’t know how much money, if any, it will receive from the Riverboat Foundation after 2013.
The council approved the first reading of a FEMA floodplain map. The vote was 5-0 in favor.
The council approved the fiscal year 2011-2012 annual financial report, which is sent to the State Auditor.
The council renewed a 28E agreement with Johnson County Mutual Aid Association for fire protection.

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