116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Linn County will join Johnson and Black Hawk counties in a cooperative lobbying effort at the state Legislature next year, county supervisors decided this morning.
The supervisors formally approved the county's membership in the new Interstate 380 Coalition. Board chairman Ben Rogers said the coalition grew out of discussions with counterparts in the other two counties about common issues.
"We wanted to create a real partnership," said Rogers, D-Cedar Rapids.
Each member county will contribute $10,000 toward the effort this year. Rogers said the annual dues will double with the next fiscal year July 1.
Linn County's share will be diverted from its current $60,000 annual lobbying budget. The coalition's board will include supervisors from each member county.
Currently, Linn and Polk are the only counties to maintain their own independent lobbying efforts. The Iowa State Association of Counties lobbies on behalf of all 99, but Rogers said the coalition recognizes the more-urban counties have concerns that may not be shared with rural counterparts.
Rogers said he expects the coalition's lobbyists will spend time next session on property tax reform, mental health funding, fuel taxes and how their revenues are allocated, and emergency management issues.
The Interstate 380 Coalition may expand beyond the I-380 corridor: Rogers said the state's other urban counties are welcome to join.
"This is by no means an exclusive club," he said. "We're really hoping other counties decide to come on board."