Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs made his mark on Mount Vernon. Many in town made their mark on him, too. Wirfs and his mother, Sarah, took The Gazette on a tour of his hometown, revisiting scenes around what essentially is the one square mile where he grew up. This story is a little about what can hold you back. This is mostly about what moves you forward.

Government

Lone Tree mayor working to eliminate his own job won't run again

Jon Green says high cost hindering plan to replace mayoral role with city manager

Lone Tree Mayor Jon Green walks to a community euchre game night March 6 at the American Legion in Lone Tree. Green said recently that he will not seek another term as mayor of the small Iowa town. “When you’re working 50 hours a week in your regular job, it just doesn’t leave enough time for me to do a good enough job,” he said. (KC McGinnis/Freelance)
Lone Tree Mayor Jon Green walks to a community euchre game night March 6 at the American Legion in Lone Tree. Green said recently that he will not seek another term as mayor of the small Iowa town. “When you’re working 50 hours a week in your regular job, it just doesn’t leave enough time for me to do a good enough job,” he said. (KC McGinnis/Freelance)

BACKGROUND

LONE TREE — In April, first-term Lone Tree Mayor Jon Green made a proposal not often seen by elected officials.

Green suggested to his fellow City Council members that Lone Tree change its government system from mayor-council to city manager-council. Green, who works full time in information technology and devotes an additional 10 to 35 hours a week to his mayoral duties, reasoned that Lone Tree would benefit from a city manager with a background in public administration who could devote more time to improving the community.

Green estimated it would cost roughly $150,000 to cover the salary and benefits for a city manager, which would be covered by a property tax increase of about $20 a month for most Lone Tree residents. If his proposal were accepted, Green would be Lone Tree’s last mayor.

WHAT’S HAPPENED SINCE

One way or another, Green will not be Lone Tree’s mayor in 2020.

Green told The Gazette this month that he does not plan to seek another term. His reasoning goes back to why he proposed eliminating the mayor position in the first place.

“It just takes a hell of a lot of time,” he said of his mayoral duties. “When you’re working 50 hours a week in your regular job, it just doesn’t leave enough time for me to do a good enough job.”

Green said he’s still working to improve Lone Tree in the months he has left as mayor. In the last few weeks, the Lone Tree City Council had a joint meeting with the Johnson County Board of Supervisors and the Lone Tree Community School board of trustees, the first time those three entities have met together, he said.

Next month, the Iowa Women’s Foundation will meet with the City Council to discuss increasing the availability of affordable, high-quality child care in the community.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

And, Green hasn’t given up on his city manager proposal. Green said while some community members are in favor of maintaining the status quo, the “lion’s share” of people he’s spoken with support the city manager idea.

The issue is cost.

“It all comes down to money,” he said. “I don’t think anybody would say, ‘I don’t want to do this because I have ideological objections to it.’ It all comes down to money. It’s a big ask. So, I’m just trying to do the best I can to convince folks that this is an investment in the community’s future.”

Green said he has not yet taken the proposal to the council for a vote. He said state law dictates that if the vote fails, it cannot be reconsidered for two years.

“It’s not something I would ask for a vote on unless I was reasonably confident it’s going to succeed,” he said. “I don’t know if we’re going to get there by the end of the year. Frankly, I think it’s unlikely.”

Green said the council did appropriate some money to send the city clerk to Kirkwood Community College to take grant writing classes.

“At some point, you have to invest in the community to make sure the community continues to be viable,” he said. “At the end of the day, everything costs money.”

l Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.