A mixed night for libraries, a new hotel/motel tax approved, some incumbents ousted: Linn and Johnson election night roundup

Signs direct people to a polling location at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Signs direct people to a polling location at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

A roundup of election items through Linn and Johnson Counties. For more results, visit our election results page.




Hiawatha voters have overwhelmingly approved a $1.2 million library bond to add another 13,500 square feet to the Hiawatha Public Library.

The bond, which needed 60 percent approval to pass, was approved by 776 votes, or nearly 76 percent of votes, according to preliminary voting results from the Linn County Auditor’s Office.

The bond funds will go to a $4.1 million expansion project, which will more than double the 8,500-square-foot library, built in 1998.

The expansion also will create spaces for youth, tweens and young adults. A program space will be added to accommodate crowds at programs and community gatherings.

City officials say the bond will not affect property taxes for Hiawatha residents.




Hiawatha voters have selected Rob Archibald and Steven Dodson to the Hiawatha City Council – ousting incumbent Robert Rampulla – in Tuesday’s vote.

According to preliminary results from the linn County Auditor’s Office, Archibald received 687 votes, Dodson brought in 547 votes and Rampulla saw 231 votes. Challenger Thomas Theis was third with 353 votes, but only two seats were open.


Archibald and Dodson join a council that includes Mayor Bill Bennett and council members Aime Wichtendahl, Denny Norton, and Dick Olson.

Hiawatha City Council members are paid $50 per meeting.




University Heights voters have approved the community’s first hotel/motel tax.

The 7 percent hotel/motel tax was approved by 306 votes, or 89 percent, according to preliminary voting results from the Johnson County Auditor’s Office.

With the tax approved, a proposed 5-story hotel near Kinnick Stadium and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics — which still is working its way through the University Heights City Council — would begin generating lodging tax revenue once completed.

Officials with the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau have estimated a 140-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel to generate between $300,000 and $320,000 in annual lodging taxes.

Per Iowa Code, half those funds would be used to bolster tourism in the area though investments in properties, recreation sites, civic or cultural centers and entertainment facilities. The remaining 50 percent of revenue would be split — 90 percent to neighborhood housing and infrastructure revitalization and 10 percent to any lawful purpose.

For city council, Nicholas Herbold, 217 votes, Liesa Moore, 204 votes, Dorothy Dotti Maher, 193 votes, Noah Hughes, 169 votes, and Jerry Zimmerman, 158 votes, were elected, according to preliminary results.

Jason Humphrey and Melissa Roberts were close with 153 votes and 152 votes, respectively.

University Heights council members are at-large and serve two-year terms.

Mayor Louise From, who ran unopposed, was re-elected.



Newcomer candidate Jennifer Goings ousted incumbent Brian Wayson in Tuesday’s North Liberty City Council vote. Incumbent Annie Polluck retained her seat.

Goings received 328 votes, Pollock brought in 417 and Wayson saw 222 votes, according to preliminary results from the Johnson County Auditor’s Office.

Incumbent Mayor Terry Donahue, who ran unopposed, also held onto his seat.


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The new city officials are tasked with leading more than 18,000 residents through a period of expansion, including the opening of a new high school, discussion of a second Interstate 380 interchange and the potential construction of a new police station.

North Liberty’s mayor earns a salary of $5,000 per year while each council member earns $50 per meeting attended, according to city code.



Voters in Tiffin have denied an increase to the city levy to add funds to the Tiffin Public Library’s operating budget.

The levy, which needed at least 50 percent of votes to pass, received only 91 votes, or 41 percent, according to preliminary results from the Johnson County Auditor’s Office.

The levy increase from 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation to 27 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation would have taken effect July 1, 2018, according to ballot language.

In addition, voters selected incumbents James Bartels and Al Havens, along with newcomer Eric Schnedler, to join the Tiffin City Council.

Bartels brought in 154 votes, Havens saw 117 and Schnedler received 149 votes.

They join Mayor Steve Berner and council members Peggy Upton and Mike Ryan on the council.




Mount Vernon Mayor Jamie Hampton will hold on to another two-year term, having defeated challenger James Moore in Tuesday’s election.

Hampton received 457 votes to Moore’s 157 votes, according to preliminary results from the Linn County Auditor’s Office.


Meanwhile, incumbent council member Eric Roudabush and newcomer Stephanie West — who sought two open seats on the council — were elected.

They join council members Marty Christensen, Scott Rose and Tom Wieseler. Paul Tuerler did not seek another term.

Council members make $15 per meeting while Mayor has a $6,000 annual salary.

l Comments: (319) 339-3175; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com



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