Council approves FY ‘21 funding requests

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

The Jan. 6 Monticello City Council meeting was the first meeting of 2020 with new Council member Gary Feldmann. It was also time for the council to approve several annual fiscal year appropriations for FY 2021. 

The council approved a $500 appropriation in Jones County Extension & Outreach for their Summer Discovery Camp. 

Jacki Luckstead and Molly Schmitt, both with Extension, were present to answer any questions from the council. 

During last summer’s camp, 43 kids from Monticello, grades K-5, took part. They had a total of 111 kids throughout Jones County. 

Luckstead said this is the 14th year for Discovery Camp. 

The council was asked to approve $1,139 (30 cents per capita) and 4 percent of Hotel/Motel Tax (approximately $800) for Jones County Tourism Association’s appropriation. After much discussion with new tourism president, Becky Dirkshaugsted, the council only approved the per capita amount. They instructed Tourism to return with a specific project in mind for the additional funding. 

Dirkshaugsted reminded the council that JCTA does receive Hotel/Motel Tax from other entities (City of Anamosa and Jones County). She said every community in the county also paid their per capita amount last year in support of JCTA. 

“We run our budget as tight as we can,” she said. “Our biggest number is payroll for our director and advertising.” 

City Administrator Doug Herman asked whether JCTA seeks out events. Dirkshaugsted explained that, yes, they do seek out group tours by attending tourism conventions throughout the state and solicits bus tours as well. 

Council member Brenda Hanken said she attended JCTA’s annual meeting and was surprised by all that Tourism does for the county. 

Hanken made a motion to give JCTA the additional funding; the motion died due to lack of a second. 

The council approved $10,000 for Jones County Economic Development. This is the third year in the city’s three-year $10,000 commitment. 

JCED Director Derek Lumsden was present to answer any questions. He explained that he helped to find local employment for 75 percent of the MedPlast employees who lost their job when the plant closed. He secured Parks to People funding for projects in Monticello, such as the trail. Lumsden has been working with the city and Hometown Pride committee in applying for the Main Street Iowa designation. He brought officials from Des Moines to Monticello for the downtown assessment project as well. 

Looking into 2020, Lumsden said he is working with Jones County Extension on some things, as well as “quick wins with the downtown assessment project.” 

Both Lumsden and Herman said there is a potential buyer for the MedPlast facility, which would bring 12 to 15 jobs to Monticello. 

“We’ve definitely gotten more for our investment than in the past,” Herman noted for funding JCED. 

Steve Hanken questioned why the city was so in favor of funding JCED as opposed to JCTA, especially with the use of Hotel/Motel Tax. 

“Hotel/Motel Tax is basically for tourism,” said Hanken. He said there doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason as to whom the city gives the tax to or why. 

Mayor Brian Wolken said he would like to see the city establish a committee to review Hotel/Motel Tax requests for various projects. Hanken said he would like to request funds for his German visitors project every year. 

“I spend money out of pocket to bring the Germans here,” said Hanken.

In other city business: 

• Due to the Iowa Caucuses on Monday, Feb. 3, the council changed the date of their meeting to Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 6 p.m. 


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