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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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Government Notes: Cedar Rapids City Manager Jeff Pomeranz to receive pay bump
Council votes on 4% raise for manager, other city officials
CEDAR RAPIDS — City Manager Jeff Pomeranz — the highest paid city administrator in Iowa — is slated to receive a 4 percent pay bump this week.
The boost to his approximately $350,000 salary, effective retroactively to Sept. 20, amounts to about $14,000. The increase follows a Dec. 6 closed-session annual performance review by the Cedar Rapids City Council.
The council Tuesday will consider approving 4 percent salary increases for Pomeranz, City Attorney Vanessa Chavez and City Clerk Alissa Van Sloten.
Pomeranz’s deferred compensation is 32 percent of his wages. He gets another $300 per month as a vehicle allowance.
In 2017, the council approved a retention bonus plan for Pomeranz. If he remains an employee through March 18, 2023, referred to in the plan as “the retirement date,” he earns a $131,027 bonus. He would get an additional $25,000-per-year bonus if he stays in his role in good standing beyond age 65 as long as he does not resign or get fired for any reason.
When the council boosted Pomeranz’s pay last year, Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell, who had not yet started her four-year term, said “the city manger’s experience and results during his tenure reinforce his value.”
9 get food security grants in Johnson County
Nine organizations in Johnson County will receive funding to help support initiatives intended to increase food security.
The organizations will receive various amounts totaling $100,000 from the county’s Community Food and Farm grant program, which is funded by federal American Rescue Plan dollars. Formal approval by the Board of Supervisors for the grants is anticipated in January.
Ilsa Dewald, the county’s local foods coordinator, said the projects will make both short- and long-term impacts on the community-based food system. The grant program was created in response to the pandemic’s impacts on the community-based food system. The purpose is to increase food production, processing and distribution to increase food security for county residents.
“Our small farmers and small food business owners saw all sorts of impacts from increased cost to just really this added challenge of having to pivot where they're selling and how they're reaching people who need food in our community at a time when it was needed the most,” said Cassidy Beamer, the county’s local foods intern.
To be eligible, projects need to impact Johnson County residents, include food products grown or raised in the county and earn less than $1 million in gross income annually. Additionally, projects must address small farms, small food business and low income or food insecurity residents. The county received 126 applications, with 74 of those applications being eligible under the criteria.
The nine projects receiving funding, pending formal approval, are:
- El Azul: $10,000 for equipment to process, store and display local produce and meat
- IC Compassion: $15,000 to increase production capacity
- Williams Topsoil: $15,000 to increase capacity to raise and sell chickens
- Poimen Bosko Foods: $15,000 for a mobile kitchen/food trailer and equipment to support workforce development
- Center for Worker Justice: $5,000 for educational workshops for immigrant entrepreneurs seeking to start a food or farm business
- Echollective Farm: $15,000 for increased capacity to store fall crops and to fund professional development opportunities for farmworkers
- Nam and Anna’s Garden: $8,500 for a greenhouse to expend the growing season and increase capacity
- Over the Moon Farm and Flowers: $14,000 to increase capacity to raise Pekin duck
- Simon Bwayo: $2,500 for tilling equipment to increase production efficiency
Residents urged to review broadband availability
Johnson County is encouraging residents to review their broadband availability, as well as provide input on a new map released by the Federal Communications Commission.
The new map — available online at broadbandmap.fcc.gov — identifies broadband service coverage at individual addresses. The county said in a news release residents should check and review the reported coverage at their home or workplace.
If the information is incorrect, residents have until Jan. 13 to submit a challenge. Challenges can be submitted if service is unavailable or if customer service is unresponsive. The FCC will use information from the map for future broadband funding allocations.
The Board of Supervisors allocated $50,000 in pandemic relief dollars to look into broadband capabilities, needs and deficiencies in the county, as well as how to expand access.
The increase in online use and demand during the COVID-19 pandemic from residents, schools and health care providers has caused a “significant strain on area broadband internet capabilities,” the county said in the release.
Cedar Rapids needs Snow Buddies volunteers
The city of Cedar Rapids is asking for more residents to volunteer in its Snow Buddies program.
The program pairs residents in need of assistance with “Snow Heroes” — those who volunteer to help clear sidewalks of snow and ice in the winter. It is geared toward residents who are not physically able to remove snow and lack other resources to clear snow, including neighbors or a hired service.
According to the city website, requests for assistance reached capacity Sept. 22, two days after opening. To sign up to volunteer, visit CityofCR.com/SnowBuddies.
Snow Heroes must be at least age 18 and provide their own snow-removal equipment. Snow Heroes may not solicit or accept money or gifts for their volunteer activities.
Government Notes is published Mondays and contains updates from area government bodies. Marissa Payne, Gage Miskimen, Izabela Zaluska and Grace King of The Gazette contribute.