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News

show case

Solon’s instrumental and vocal music programs take the stage in a group concert

Solon’s instrumental and vocal music programs take the stage in a group concert

Solon robots rule

NORTH LIBERTY– Minions, Raging Infernos and robot Domination.
It sounds like the stuff of the latest blockbuster sci-fi action movie, but it’s really the team names Solon’s robotics students have crafted to intimidate their rivals.
Even the Stale Marshmallows pack a punch when it comes to showing off their engineering acumen. On Jan. 26, Solon middle school and high school students hosted a robotics competition at the North Liberty Community Center to do just that.

Solon district waiting on state’s allowable growth decision

SOLON- School districts around the state receive a per-pupil amount that mostly comes from the state, about 88 percent, with local property taxes making up the remaining school revenues. That amount is set at about $6,000 per student this year.
Whether it grows or not– the allowable growth– is determined by the Iowa Legislature, and school districts are often left waiting on the state to agree on a number so local districts can set budgets.
Democratic state senators, with a narrow 26-24 voting edge, passed a four percent increase for the next two years.

Long list of ideas for shortage of space

Facilities committee holds brainstorming session

OXFORD– The facilities committee tasked by the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) School Board of Directors to explore options for dealing with the district’s continued enrollment growth took a major step toward making a recommendation.

Tie council vote results in lower return on investment

By Lori Lindner
North Liberty Leader
TIFFIN– Some on the Tiffin City Council don’t agree with putting most of the city’s eggs in one basket, even if it is the best basket around.
At the council’s Feb. 13 meeting, a tie vote shot down City Administrator Michon Jackson’s suggestion to amend the city’s investment policy in order to keep a balance of about $7 million in Solon State Bank until bond proceeds designated for capital improvement projects could be spent down. The current policy puts a cap on deposits of no more than $2.5 million in any one of three local financial institutions.

To a festive Fat Tuesday and five great years

Augusta Restaurant co-owner Jeri Halperin and Ben Black raise a toast to Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 12, during the New Orleans-themed restaurant’s sixth annual Mardi Gras party. For more photos of the event, see page 20.

City hall pricing goes through roof

Early pricing for concept plan causes sticker shock for Solon officials

SOLON– After a bout with sticker shock, it’s back to the drawing board for Solon’s proposed new city hall.
Early conceptual cost estimates for the renovation of 100 W. Main St. came in at nearly three times the amount the city expected to spend, according to city administrator Cassandra Lippincott.
That was a month ago, and now the city committee which has been working on the project has asked the engineering firm it hired to try to trim back the projected price tag.

Severance package approved for North Liberty’s former police chief

NORTH LIBERTY– North Liberty’s former police chief has accepted a severance package after his abrupt departure from the city’s employ Feb. 1.
The North Liberty City Council unanimously approved a resignation agreement between the city and former North Liberty Police Chief Jim Warkentin at the council’s Feb. 12 meeting. The agreement grants Warkentin $37,647.46 for severance pay, overtime and paid time off due as of his departure date of Feb. 1, as well as providing insurance benefits until March 31, 2013.

Delays ahead

Construction on Mehaffey Bridge to begin in April

JOHNSON COUNTY– Travelers between North Liberty and Solon, prepare for delays ahead. Mehaffey Bridge will be under construction for the next two years.
At its Feb. 7 meeting, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors approved a bid for replacement of the aging structure spanning the Coralville Reservoir between the two communities. The wining base bid of $8,865,974 was offered by Iowa Bridge & Culvert of Washington, Iowa. Lookouts along the bridge’s separate multi-use trail will also be included, for an estimated total project cost of $8,904,245.

JECC presents county with 11.3 percent increase

Radio system maintenance boosts center’s bottom line

IOWA CITY– Maintenance contracts have pushed the FY 2014 Johnson County Joint Emergency Communications Center (JECC) budget request up about $356,000, an increase of 11.3 percent over last year.
JECC director Tom Jones said he had a “pretty level budget, but for one item,” the estimated contract for upkeep on the facility’s Harris radio system. When the center first opened, three-year maintenance contracts for the E911 center were pre-negotiated to September, but the cost will now be budgeted annually.

ICCSD diversity policy sets stage for redrawn district

By B. Adam Burke
North Liberty Leader
IOWA CITY– Students who receive free and reduced lunch will be redistributed across the Iowa City school district, according to a new diversity policy passed after its third reading at a Feb. 5 Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) school board meeting. The plan is to also check high school capacity and will set another trigger for building a secondary school.
The policy will guide the district in its bid toward equity in the schools.

Revenues repurposed with district-wide vote

Passage means accelerated revenues, tight timeline for construction

IOWA CITY– The Yes votes were out in force for the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) revenue purpose statement (RPS) vote on Feb. 5, easily passing the language written to inject some cash into school facilities in a district-wide vote.
Superintendent Stephen Murley sounded ready to go to work when results of the revenue purpose statement vote were announced at the school board meeting.
“We have a tight timeline,” he said, for working out construction projects before the start of the building season.