Forum planned to discuss Linn County minimum wage proposal

Aug. 18 event to include county officials, policy experts

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn County officials invite the public to a minimum wage forum later this month.

The minimum wage forum — set for Aug. 18 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Cedar Rapids Public Library’s Beems Auditorium, 450 Fifth Ave. SE — will provide an opportunity for the Linn County Board of Supervisors to gather public input on the county’s potential minimum wage ordinance.

Forum panelists are to include Linn County Supervisor Ben Rogers, Iowa Policy Project research director Peter Fisher, local business owner Richard Pankey and Sofia Mehaffey, member of Linn County’s minimum wage study group.

Attendees will be able to submit written questions during the event.

KCRG-TV9’s Bruce Aune is set to moderate the forum, which will air live on KCRG Channel 9.2.

Eventually, the board plans to vote on whether or not to pass a countywide minimum wage ordinance.

Earlier this year, the Linn County Board of Supervisors created a working group to explore the pros and cons of a local minimum wage ordinance. The group included elected officials, social services representatives and business officials.

That group in June recommended the Board of Supervisors raise the countywide minimum wage to $8.25 on Jan. 1, 2017.

The Board of Supervisors has not yet formally discussed a countywide minimum wage.

Johnson County was the first in Iowa to adopt a higher minimum wage ordinance. The ordinance passed the five-member board last year and this May marked the second of three 95-cent an hour increases to the county rate. On Jan. 1, it will reach $10.10 an hour. After that, annual adjustments will be tied to the consumer price index.

A handful of small communities in Johnson County have passed counter ordinances.

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