Tri States Public Radio Staff
Tax Extension Vote Set
Fri February 24, 2012
City Council Approves Contract
The Burlington City Council has made its choice for city manager official.
The panel voted unanimously on Thursday night to appoint James Ferneau to the post.
His first day as city manager will be April 23.
Ferneau has been serving as City Administrator of Sergeant Bluff, IA.
Burlington Mayor Jim Davidson says Ferneau stood out from the other finalists.
“We are really, really pleased with what we saw in the interview process,” says Davidson, “and like I said… I think he is an ideal fit. (City Council member) Becky (Anderson) said he is a very fiscally responsible person.”
Davidson says he also believes Ferneau is a man of intergrity.
Davidson says Ferneau’s first major project will be the budget, in particular, identifying potential savings and revenue sources.
The city’s spending plan for the 2012-2013 will have already been approved by the time Ferneau takes over as city manager.
His starting salary will be $112,000. It will be increased to $117,000/year after just six months on the job.
The city will also pay all reasonable moving expenses.
Human Resources Director Bev Hunter says the rest of the contract is in line with those of past city managers Bruce Slagle and Doug Worden.
Interim City Manager Dan Luttenegger says Ferneau will be provided with a city government email account so he can keep up with day-to-day activities until he arrives in April.
Burlington residents must decide whether a sales tax should remain in place.
Burlington established a 1% Local Option Sales Tax in 1994.
Voters agreed to extend it for ten years (2003-2012) during a special election in 2002.
That extension expires December 31st, so another public vote is needed.
The city council has agreed to hold a special election on Tuesday, August 7.
The Local Option Sales Tax generates roughly $4-million/year for Burlington.
Interim City Manager Dan Luttenegger says losing that money would be devastating.
He says it is used for property tax relief, infrastructure, and salaries.
Luttenegger says the city is looking into making the tax permanent this time around, as opposed to adding another ten-year sunset clause.