Mt. Union receives the needed vote to dissolve
BY BRYCE KELLY
Mt. Pleasant News
Mt. Union knows the meaning of every vote counts. One vote was the deciding factor when it came to the question of unincorporation. And now, Mt. Union will have a lot of changes coming its way.
As of 10:30 a.m., Wednesday morning, it was a 31-31 tie on the Mt. Union public measure asking Mt. Union residents whether or not the town should unincorporate. However, the Henry County auditor received a tie-breaking absentee ballot that cast a vote in favor of unincorporation Thursday afternoon, and now Mt. Union has their answer.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Mt. Union mayor, John Marek, of the vote, which he previously believed would pass. “As a mayor, it’s not something I was looking forward to, but we have to look at the financial burdens of the city…sometimes you have to do what’s necessary even when it’s hard.”
According to Marek, a major cause for unincorporation comes down simply to dollars and cents. He said that in the current fiscal year (2017), Mt. Union’s expenses are increasing by 23 percent and income is decreasing by 13 percent. Mainly responsible for the decrease in income is a drop in assessed property valuation. Property taxation is based on property valuation, and Marek insists property taxes provide the vast majority of the city’s income. He said his property valuation dropped by several thousand dollars.
Moving forward now with unincorporation, Marek says he will begin talks with Matt Rasmussen, State of Iowa City Development board administrator, who the city must make its request to in order to unincorporate. As previously reported by the Mt. Pleasant News, Rasmussen says that he cannot recall any unincorporation requests that have been denied in the past four years.
According to Rasmussen, once the request is granted, the city development board becomes the city’s “government” for the next six months. Two public notices must be published in a newspaper serving the city, giving creditors six months to file claims against the city. If claims are not filed within the six months, they will not be paid.
The city development board also has the power to levy taxes against city residents for any city debt.
Following the six-month period, the county takes over and the city is treated like Swedesburg, Trenton and Lowell, the other three unincorporated communities in Henry County.