IOWA CITY GOVERNMENT
Council-Manager Form of Government
The League of Women Voters of Johnson County supports a council-manager fome of
government for Iowa City. Position reached in 1949; updated in 1972 and 1983.
The League supports the concept of a home rule charter for Iowa City and the specific charter that was adopted n 1973. Position reached in 1973 ; updated in 1983.
The League supports comprehensive planning for all governments in Johnson County and coordination of these plans among jurisdictions and school districts. Comprehensive planning should include:
- Protection and preservation of the natural environment
- Parks and open spaces, Efficient use of land and services
- Adequate housing for various needs
- A transportation system that includes safe and orderly traffic patterns, public transit, and pedestrian and bicycle trails.
- Preservation o neighborhoods
- Buffer areas between residential and nonresidential zones
- Adequate infrastructure including quality water supply, waste water treatment and storm water disposal
- Shared use of neighborhood parks, recreation facilities and schools
- Public safety, including police, fire, ambulance and jails
- Excellent well-funded schools
Position reached in 1970; updated in 2001.
The League of Women Voters of Johnson County believes that economic development in the greater Johnson County area should be a cooperative venture between all governmental entities and the private sector. The League encourages local governments to continue funding for economic development and for organizations such as the Iowa City Area Development Group (ICAD).
We also support the ongoing coordinated multi-county planning. The entire community needs to maintain an infrastructure adequate to attract future economic development in the area. Important to future development are:
- Open and responsive local governments that provide their citizens with excellent public services, schools, transportation, and human services:
- Sensitive integration and preservation of the area’s natural resources
- Effective zoning, design control, and building codes;
- A wide range of cultural and recreational opportunities;
- Major academic institutions that contribute through education and research to the creation of businesses and jobs.
Study adopted in 1985; position reached in 1986; updated in 2AB.
The League of Women Voters of Johnson County Updated April 2016
The League believes that within Johnson County, decent, affordable housing should be available for low-income individuals and families without discrimination. To achieve this, the League recommends that all governments within the county, Including the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, work with local profit and non-profit organizations to establish agencies, policies, and programs that build and maintain an inventory of affordable housing.
To address the county needs for affordable housing, the League supports a cooperative, regional approach to:
1. Maintain programs that provide sufficient funds for affordable housing.
2. Create policies that provide an adequate supply of affordable housing for both ownership and rental.
3. Improve and increase housing inventory through new construction, conservation and rehabilitation of affordable units.
4. Promote energy-efficient housing to reduce energy costs to homeowners or apartment renters.
5. Provide housing for the homeless.
The ultimate aim of such efforts should be the successful inclusion of affordable housing into all neighborhoods, existing or new, with a range of prices and a variety of housing types; i.e. apartments, duplexes, triplexes, multi-family units. At the same time, outreach to citizens should include information about housing availability and cost. Local municipalities should evaluate their housing stock regularly to ensure that their agencies, policies, and programs are effective and attaining the goal of maintaining and, when necessary, expanding affordable housing opportunities in their communities.
(The LWVJC first adopted a Housing Study in 1990; the initial Housing Position was reached in 1992, then revised in 2003. This 2016 document is the first update since that time.)
JOHNSON COUNTY GOVERNMENT
The League of Women Voters believes that good government for Johnson County should be accessible, goal-directive, cost effective and proactive. Elected county officials must exercise strong leadership, communicate openly, and be able to compromise. They must recognize the county’s changing demographics, need for increased services, and have a coordinated vision for the future.
The League of Women Voters supports a Home Rule Charter for Johnson County. The process of developing home rule charter will provide the opportunity for a systematic examination of the capabilities county government. Any commission in charge of designing such a charter for Johnson County should strongly consider incorporating provisions in the charter which foster political leadership, professional management, and reorganization based on the functions performed.
Absent a Home Rule charter, the county’s leaders should continue to improve county government in the areas of planning and goal setting, management, and citizen participation and communication.
Planning and Goal Setting
The county’s planning-the land use plan, the North Corridor plan, the five year road plan, and strategic planning by the Board of Supervisors should continue with a focus on setting goals, prioritizing courses of action, and developing implementation and financing stategies. Such planning must include mechanisms for review and official involvement of the county’s citizens and local governmental entities.
The League of Women Voters believes that to continue improvement of the management of county government, the following should be done: an annual review and update of basic goals and priorities and of county issues and procedures; the hiring
professional staff; continuation of interdepartmental cooperation; ongoing orientation and continuing education for all employees; and continued emphasis on technology planning, development and training.
Citizen Participation and Communication
The League believes it is incumbent upon Johnson County government to increase citizens’ understanding of and participation in county government. We encourage the county to: appoint diverse and representative citizens to boards and commissions; establish uniform county office hours and schedule county meetings that are accessible to the working public; designate a county information officer; and continue to videotape board meetings and distribute tapes to all Johnson County cable
companies, public access and government channels. Study adopted in 1995; position reached in 1996 and updated in 1998 and 2001.
The League of Women Voters supports the improvement of regional cooperation in the delivery of local government services within Johnson County. The current mechanisms in place to aid the cooperation and coordination of intergovernmental and regional issues are neither adequate nor adequately utilized.
Elected officials and citizens need to
1) make better use of the mechanisms
2) find other avenues to pursue greater and more effective intergovernmental coordination.
The League will support measures that meet this goal including encouraging and participating in the establishment of a Charter Commission for Johnson County which would include representatives of the larger, contiguous cities. Study adopted in 2001; positions reached in 2002.
May 2006 -Positions edited, revised and approved by the LWJC Annual Meeting
2007,08, 09, 10- Positions retained by the LWTJC Annual Meetings.