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MOUNT UNION — John Marek made a trip to Des Moines Feb. 17.
Marek, mayor of Mount Union, delivered a preliminary packet of information to the State of Iowa City Development Board. The trip was another step on Mount Union’s move toward unincorporation.
The mayor said the packet contained a copy of the election results to unincorporate (the measure passed by one vote during the November 2016 general election), the current city budget, a list of creditors, city assets and city account balances.
“He [Matt Rasmussen, administrator of the city development board] liked the packet,” Marek said. “He was happy with it and said it was very informative.”
Marek said he could have made the trip in December but decided to wait because the city receives property tax revenue monthly from the county. “However, now is the time to do it (submit the packet).”
Mount Union’s request for unincorporation will be on the city development board’s March 8 meeting agenda, Rasmussen said. He said that while the community’s move toward unincorporation “looks good so far,” he cannot speak for the board on whether the request will be granted. During his nearly five years as administrator of the board, no community requests for discontinuance have been denied providing the proper paperwork has been filed.
If the proper paperwork has not been filed or a problem surfaces, the matter could be tabled, Rasmussen added.
Should Mount Union’s request be granted, unincorporation is immediate, Rasmussen stated. The city development board then publishes two notices in an area newspaper, alerting creditors that they have six months to file claims against the city.
For those six months, the development board “assumes the financial administration of the city,” according to Rasmussen, adjudicating the city’s finances. Marek said the process was relatively pain free. “It was kind of like ‘wham, bam, thank you ma’am.’ It was easy for us because we have no union members, no employees to relocate and don’t own our city water, sewer or electric systems.”
The mayor does not foresee any problem with finances. He said the city has about $20,000 in debt but a $55,000 balance it its accounts. The city’s assets (property and community center) will also have to be sold. Marek said the city owes $18,000 on the community center. If the city debt exceeds its assets, the difference will be placed on property tax rolls, Rasmussen said. If the city has a financial surplus, the money will be given to the county. The city development board is comprised of five members from throughout Iowa and meets in Des Moines the second Wednesday of each month.