Posted on February 16, 2018 at 9:49 AM by Kevin Jenison
When the tones break the stillness inside Muscatine Fire Department station, all normal activity ceases. They listen, recognizing what each one means, and then spring into action as the dispatcher begins his or her announcement.
Even though they may know the type of incident and the location, there is still the unanswerable question of what the responders will find upon arrival. And that is where training comes in.
Posted on January 23, 2018 at 3:16 PM by Kevin Jenison
Like a farmer preparing his (or her) fields for the growing season, City of Muscatine staff have been busy preparing their fields of proposals for the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Budget Season. Last November department heads began meeting with their respective staff to work on and complete reports of accomplishments, expectations for the future, and budget proposals for the upcoming fiscal year. While working to complete this extremely important task, city staff have been dutifully dedicated to their regular work routine and to the citizens of Muscatine.
It is Budget Season for the City of Muscatine and although the season only lasts a short period of time on the calendar, its impact will be felt a year from now and in the year's to come.
The City of Muscatine is required to adopt an annual budget by March 15 of each year. The process begins in November when the departments are presented with their budget materials and instructions on the process. The initial department proposals are reviewed by Nancy Luecks, city financial director, and Gregg Mandsager, city administrator, and then refined in meetings with the individual departments during December.
There are a myriad of issues and challenges associated with preparing a departmental budget just as there is in combining those budget proposals into one comprehensive city budget that meets the needs of the citizens of Muscatine. It is no small feat especially when you consider future money is never guaranteed, just anticipated.
While local government cannot control what happens with the state legislature in Des Moines, local government can look ahead towards what they can do to ensure the expectations of its citizens are met. Long range plans that are geared toward increasing the population of residents, homes, and businesses have their base in these budgets. City departments, then, have to forecast what they can do to reach the long term goals while meeting the needs of citizens today … and stay within the confines of the anticipated dollars they will receive in the coming fiscal year.
That part of the Budget Season has passed. And now …
Now, as January comes to a close, it is time for these department budget proposals to be presented to the Muscatine City Council, the governing body of the City of Muscatine who are the final decision makers as to what shape the budget for the next fiscal year will look like. The process begins Thursday (Jan. 25) at 5:30 p.m. when the City Council convenes to hear the General Fund Overview. Over the next two weeks, each department and agency will have their time before the City Council to plead their case, to answer questions, and, if needed, to modify their budgets.
All budget sessions are open to the public and a schedule of the meetings in available at this link … Budget Schedule. Each session has different departments presenting with citizens welcomed at all of the presentations. Public comment at this time is not part of the process but DO take notes because time for citizen input has been set aside during the Public Hearing that is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, March 1 (the actual date and time will be set by City Council at the conclusion of the department/agency presentations).
Throughout the budget process there are numerous opportunities to participate and engage with your City staff and Council members. Please stay tuned for periodic updates on the process, issues and challenges the City faces in putting together a budget for a full service city, and a budget that meets our community needs but is also responsible at the same time.
The City of Muscatine values constructive input and appreciates hearing your ideas. You can comment here on our blog, visit the Community Voice section of our web site, visit our social media sites at Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or you can email us to stay connected.
Posted on November 7, 2017 at 9:02 AM by Kevin Jenison
Tuesday is an important day for the citizens of Muscatine. It is Election Day with registered voters going to the polls to vote on who will be the mayor for the next two years along with selecting candidates to fill the three council seats that are on the ballot. Voting is the right and privilege of every U.S. citizen who has taken the time to register to vote, using their voice, anonymously, to select the leaders who have the future of Muscatine in their hands for the next two years.
The City of Muscatine believes strongly in this process and we participate by voting our conscious just as every citizen should. If you have not participated in this election yet, please make time to vote Tuesday.
The polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Muscatine. Residents in the First Ward (Precincts 1 & 2) and the Third Ward (Precincts 5 & 6) vote at the Muscatine Community School Administration Building (2900 Mulberry Avenue). Residents in the Second Ward (Precincts 3 & 4) vote at Clark House (117 West 3rd Street). Residents in the Fourth Ward (Precincts 7 & 8) vote at Mulford Church (2400 Hershey). Residents in the Fifth Ward (Precincts 9 & 10) vote at the Muscatine Community College (MCC) McAvoy Center (1403 Park Avenue). Your voter registration card has your precinct number on it.
Voter registration has officially ended, but you can still register tand vote at the polling centers Tuesday with a photo ID and proof of residency. More information on registering and where to vote can be found at the Muscatine County Auditor’s web site by clicking here.
Municipal elections usually do not bring out the vote but they are just as important as any state or national election. Just 12 percent of registered voters made it to the polls for the 2015 election and just seven percent voted in a mayor’s race that was decided by 120 votes (820-700). Only six percent voted in 2011 and 11 percent in 2009. Voting for the council seats was equally disappointing but not inconsistent with municipal election trends.
The old adage still applies, though … if you don’t vote – don’t complain. Be sure to vote this year and offset the trends of the last several election cycles.
We hope that the citizens of Muscatine take this opportunity and express their hope for Muscatine’s future at the ballot box. We are all working toward the common goal … making Muscatine a better place to work, live, and raise a family … and your vote Tuesday will demonstrate your investment in that goal.