tv The Steele Report NBC February 15, 2016 3:05am-3:30am CST
>> announcer: now from kwwl, this is the steele report. captioning provided by caption associates, llc www.captionassociates.com >> ron: welcome in this week's edition of the steele report as we welcome the two now mayor of the cedar valley. from cedar falls, jim brown and from waterloo, quentin hart. jim brown was on the board of education, there for six years if i remember correctly. big victory over david halterman. mayor brown serve six years on the board of educatiti. he's a siness development manager. his campaign promise was to bring a different leadership style to city hall. we'll ask if he's done that. quentin hart we've had on the program before, earn his batch love's degree from uni, first elected in 2008, representing waterloo's fourth wart on the city council and then serve as mayor pro te and gave up the council positions to run for mayor. he and his wife have three
you had a birthday since the last time i talked to youou >> mayor hart: no, i haven't. i'm looking forward to june 6th though. >> ron: we'll put that on the calendar. what a surprise for you, mayor brown. you promised a new leadership style. you're just getting started.. i know yoyo did one thing together already, rang the bell for the salvation army. that was a great event. any surprises so far? >> mayor brown: no real surprises. there was enough folks that rrounded me and gave me advice before and after that there's a lot to learn, but we've got a very good city staff, so hang on to what they tell you as far as legacy informatiti that they have, historical information. so no real surprises. maybe -- a lot more meetings than maybe i thought, even outside of cedar falls. the mayor's position in cedar falls, quentin and i met a number of types in waterloo for -- times in waterloo to
and ings like that. >> ron: quentin, you were on the city council already. i notice right away you brought back prayer to the city council. how that is goioi? any complaints yet? >> mayor brown: you need to pray for him. >> mayor hart: yes, there's been a couple complaints, but i think one of the things that is absolutely refreshing is the opportunity to havavmayor ground and i both who are cedar valley leadership institute, younger professionals -- well, we could have been in the class too. >> ron: right, exactly. i actually spoke to that group, fantastic grouou ofof dynamic young people in this area that's going to be the next leaders already and to see their eyes when you talk about all the great things taking place in both communities, build that rapport and wait until you see our photo shoot. >> ron: you mean as a team? >> mayor hart: oh, yeah, definitely. >> ron: we laught that, but that's what we need.
necessary here in the cedar valley to bring the communities together for the betterment of both communities? >> mayor hart: one of the things i think about and we discussed at that meeting, the cedar valley is in a very good situation to be one of the best corridors in the entire midwest and i think we are tre, but there's so many opportunities that we have to attract business, to attract families to our local community, so i think any opportunity that we have, the both of us, to kind of work on that and push things together, i think the future looks bright inthe valley. >> ron: sure. and richard mcalister ran the city for a long time. he's gone now or going to be gone, retiring, and so what kind of void does that leave and how do you fill that and what steps have you taken already to make sure that there's a competent person in there to do what dick did? >> mayor brown: sure, mr. gains is veryry knowledgeable. he swear he is -- too. >> mayor brown: yeah, he has
visual memory. some of the things he pul up with different questions i have for him, he's been very invaluable. as was dick in his departure. some folks might have thought, there was concern there, the two top positions in cedar falls, might have concerns with that void, but i lookokd at it differertly as really an opportunity for two new leaders to come in without, you know, losing a lot of that historical information that ron has to further cedar falls the way i wanted to have it furthered bo both of ous talked about public safety -- of us talked about public safety, key issue for both cmunities, perhaps maybe more so for waterloo becaus it attracts more publicity than does cedar falls crime, though it gets its share. what steps are you taking along those lines that ensure residents that you're going to do what you said you were going to do during the campaign, and that is take care of the situation. >> mayor hart: and also a united states lying theme to dealing
bilz public trust between -- build pupuic trust between lawmaker and the community. we've -- humanity and the community. we've had meetings with the cool district and other entities. march 10th, i believe, there was some type of smaller meeting set up with a roundtable of folks that's going to be pushed back we're dealing with our budget situation right now, and so the first three mths, i wake up in the morning an i think about budget, but with regards to having that budget, we're hoping to have that done march 10th, as i said. but we have to ensure that we have a proper budget for public safety right now to make sure that we could put them in a situation where they can enforce and become the community policing oriented type of department we're looking for. so protecting that budget is priority number one. >> ron: there's always attrition within fire and police department. do you anticipate with the budget you're working on right
for any layoffs in the fire department or police department? >> mayor hart: you just go right in, don't you? >> ron: i'm m st asking. >> mayor hart: what we're doing right now is we are televising every department head meeting, police has had an opportunity to sit down and talk about their budget with the city council,l, but ultimately, it's going to depend on what city council deems as being priorities, and if public safety is a priority with regards to our police and fire, we'll l e if that's reflected in the budget. but we're giving our city council an opportunity to take a look at line item by line item, from fuel expenses to salary and personnel, and seeeeg what they would like to come up with and see changes. i can't say right now if there will be cuts. we'll have to see as the process goes on, but remember, the conversation a couple -- probably about a month and a
did help to bring back two of those public safety positions in each department because the community, they were asking for it. ron: after the grant ran out. >> mayor hart: no, after the grant ran out, but that was an absolute decision two years ago during our budget press not to fill three positlons in police and three positions in fire. >> ron: and jim, what about your situation as far as your -- you're like waterloo, you have chiff olson overseeing both departments as the chief does for waterloo. are you anticipating any changes or layoffs that you might have to be looking at for your budget? >> mayor brown: i don't believe so. the budget process is brand-new to me, one of the first things on my desk when i started. i don't have the six to eight years that mayor hart has with his sper stees, but i've -- expertise, but i've vd very good conversations with the chief and the director and the one of the first reports ha came out, once again, crime went down in the city of cedar falls, outside of the campus of uni, so i think
obviously, one of my campaign promises was not to turn the taibs upside down, t i've certainly had conversations not only in terms of crime, but potential threats we might see get headlines at the national level, just to see if we're prepared in those ccumstances. the flood as an example as well, and those two folks along with other cici staff really have good things in place. >> ron: we always think it can never happen and look what happened in 2008. you never know what the river is going to do and what the weather is going to do. we have to take a bak. we're going to c ce back anan continue our conversation. we're also on 7.3 on sunday mornings, we're also on the main channel here and then obviwusly our whole program is always on kwwl.com, so you can look at the full episode if you guys want to watch yourself, for example. >> mayor brown: i'll record it at home.
do ey even make >> ron: welcome back to this week's edition of the steele report. we're talking with mayor jim brown of cedar falls and mayor qurt of waterloo. they're the two new mayors, the new sheriffs in town, so to speak. give me your top priority. what is the main thing you want to accomplish in the first six months of being in office? >> mayor hart: obviously the budget. >> ron: that's critical, isn't it? >> mayor hart: i say that because literally spenenng about
40 hours a week dealing with our budget situation, but also, when we take a look at the way that we market the city of waterloo, we have some amazing things taking place within this community, and so we're trying to work out a plan so that we can highlight and showcase some of those opportunities in a correct way. you know, working with council isa great opportunity that wewe have as s well, working with our department heads, finding out what's going on are some of the great opportunities that i have right now to build upon, to move the city forward. and engaging people, visiting churches, visiting faith-based organizations, going different places and making sure that i'm visible and accessible for people >> ron: before we go further, we anticipate a bigger or smaller budget? and what is the waterloo budget going to be or what is it for this year, what's the one you're building on right now? >> mayor hart: i wish i could tell you that. i left my crystal ball back atat the office. march 10th is the deadline to
certified that day and voted on by the city council, so march for. >> ron: but generally what has the budget been over the last few years? what's the actual that are amount? >> mayor hart: oh, my gosh. depends on which silo you're talking about. you're talking about at least wards of $40 million and that doesn't include some of the grant-funded programs we have throughout the city of waterloo. what's been amazing and which is contrary to some the conversation that we've been hearing, people talk about our levy te. our levy rate is currently at 17.76, but it has consistently gone down over the last several years. it's not wherere our sister city cedar falls is at, but we've taken enormous steps to move to that. we have taken emmore muss steps to make sure that -- enormous steps to make sure that our tax asking over the last several years is even lower. i think we're on the right track moving forward, but people need
>> ron: mayor brown, what does your budget look like this yeaea what has beeeei been the last few years kind of on average. you said this is a new thing for you. were you shoction when you saw how much -- shoction when you saw how much moneyure dealing with? >> mayor brown: the short answer is yes. shocked in terms of pure dollar amount. it was one of those first things put on myiey desk in a couple meetings and we had ththe committee as a whole meeting before the last council being. the description was fine, but to regurgitate that now, i'm not sure i can do that intelligently, but i know we're still one of the top three or four communities in the state with the lowest tax asking. >> ron: communities like coralville and dubuque are thriving, but they're also taking on an incredible amount of debt, and that's been pretty controversial in those cities because they have all these new things going on and a lot of amazing things happening, bus but there's also a lot of debt and the mayors don't seem to be concerned about that.
taking on that kind of debt for waterloo? you're hoping to not -- to keep the debt at as low a level as possible. >> mayor hart: the answer would be no, to makeitplain and simple. that's why we've been taking a careful look, putting information out to the public so that people can understand exactly the decisions that we're trying to make on behalf of providing the services that they would like to see and they will like to have, and that's why, you know, if we have to spend 40, 50 hours a week to try to make sure we put together a good product on march 10th, that's exactly what we'r'r going to do. so i have saw our department heads work absolutely hard and there's many different wants, many d dferent needss from our different department heads, but we have to make sure that we hold the line at some point so we can continue to decrease our asking for our community.
balancing act, but it's one that i believe that our department heads are up to the challenge. our chief financial office is up to the challenge, and d e that i wholeheartedly embrace. i think if they had a budget pie, i will probably get a slice of pie when i go out to eat because i've been eating, sleeping, and breathing this process. >> ron: because it's at the heart of everything that you can accomplish. if the money is not there, you can't really accomplish anything like that. so as far as priorities, besides the budget, mayor brown, what are you looking at in cedar falls? i mean, is there -- the roundabout controversy has simmered down since the election, probably sill out there. what are you looking at as far as going after things to improve the city? >> mayor brown: it really boils down to at i campaigned on for the last year. i've been drinking from the fire
everything from the city, it can get a little overwhelming, but oftentimes i'm back down and say wait a minute, my theme was business development, different communication and different leadership style and it helps guide me back to where i think one of the main reasons i got elected was my focus, so i've beenenalking to a lot of siness owners just one a one, going and seeing how things are. talking on our economic development folks here on staff and they just sort of share, we're almost on i believe record pace again for mid-askings upcoming in the fiscal year. i think the meetings have gone better in city council, just instilling a difference there and i hope to put a few things t in the next probably four to six weeks in terms of communication with the public. that's been my focus. i can't say it's been one thing. it takes a little time to implement and get acclimated to the whole position. >> ron: the issue around the state mayors that are full or part-time mayors.
is really a full-time position? >> mayor brown: and then some. >> mayor hart: yes, yes. i think part of that discussion, i believe only three or power communities in the state that are full time and i think cities get more competitive, and mayor hart mentioned we have great offerings here in the cedar valley, an is those cities get more competitive, it's going to take a pointperson, i believe, to almost market and omote and make sure that folks have -- who are coming to town, have an individual there to help showcase the city and introduce them to various individuals in the city. i think it's well worth it in my humble opinion, at least this early on. >> ron: is your management style going to be hands-on? are you going to let your department heads do their jobs? are you going to say listen, i want answers and i want them now? what is your style? >> mayor hart: respect, first and foremost. we have amazing pewple working for our cities and i will
agreement with that, and they know exactly what they're doing, but there are a few things that i think would necessity some type of change. structuring a department or two to make sure that we are meeting the demands that currently exist. i talked about woing and put together and find a full-time economic development person to work, so that is hands-on with regards to what he does, but -- >> ron: to work with noel anderson? >> mayor hart: to work with noel. those types of creative opportunities, i think i have the opportunity to bring that and depend heads have been absolutely open to a lot of those ideas. >> ron: again, your management style, mayor brown, is going to be what? >> mayor brown: it clearly is so far soaking up everything that these directors know, but no, it is -- it is respect, like mayor hart indicated there as well.
to having these experts do their job. there's oversight, clearly there's oversight that needs to take place, so that's more my style. it was when n was on the school board is having that role be associated with the position and so that may change. it may spike, it may go down, but so far, that's what it is. >> ron: we're going to take one
our show is also online >> ron: welcome back to our final segment this week of the steele report with the two mayors. the two newly elected mayors in the cedar vallfy, mayor jim brown of cedar falls, maybe quentin hart of waterloo. mayor brown, in your campaign, you were talking about the previous administration, which was in office for a long time, mayor crews, as ing passive administration. you hope to change that. what did you mean by that and what is the plan to move forward to change that? >> mayor brown: sure. as you mayrecall many times in the campaign, i believe it would be passive compared to what i
table, but part of the key there is it worked. again, i go back to the theme it worked well and that it's time, because i'm not ttning the hall. implementing my strength in terms of communication and leadership and that focus towards business development. so it was never meant to be a derogatory statement towards what was working for a long, long time. but it is exciting what's happening around city hall and around the cedar valley ks yor hart indicated as well because there is many fresh ideas and a fresh perspective in relation to who gets reempz out to -- reach out to and many times i've gone into businesses and they say it's operate to see you. john's strengths were more towards numbers and profit and that worked as well. i'm just glad the folks thought it was time. >> ron: how difficult, mayor hart, is it to work with a council? u have to kind of develop a coalition kind of with some of
anything passed, so what's your impression of this council? [ laughter ] >> mayor hart: all of them have their different strengths. they have their different bctions. they bring -- different backgrounds. they bring different things to the table and i think part of my job is running the city council meetings and making sure that i don't stifle creativity, that i don't stifle the opportunity for people to express themselves. i try to key keep the council meetings free,e,nd i'm not saying it did happen before, but keep it from personal insults and those types of things, so that same expectation i have of the council, i also have of myself and i also have of the audience that's there to listen. i think every decision that we make, every conversation that we have, that businesses are looking, they're trying to come to the city of waterloo, so we have to makeke sure thatat we keepep things focused on the issue and work together and then i think
some of our council members in a role of taking care of some things where they can utilize their strengths, i think i have a great opportunity to be able to do that. so we don't always necessarily have to agree, but let's not be didigreeable and let's continue to work towards one common goal. >> ron: right. now, you have a great asset in cedar falls the university of northern iowa, which means you have a tremendous amount, number of rental properties and there's been some controversy about rental properties. is that on your agenda is making sure that the landlords and the tenants both can work cooperatively together for both sides? >> mayor brown: yes, i've had many meetings with both staff and folks on both sides that issue, and if i have it correctly, i believe late last year, they had sort of a redo of -- they looked over what they had passed previously, and to thecity council's credit, they made changes there, asked the staff to make changes, and i give them credit for that.
they made those decisions and they're coming back and seeing tweaks that might be taking place in the upcoming weeks. >> ron: flint, michigan, had the water problems because of the lead and everything when they switched over. wawarloo has to do something with its sewer system somewhere counsel the road, so that's -- down the road, so that's going to be something on your mind a number of years. what's the status of that right now because that's a very expensive replacement somewhere down the road? >> mayor hart: right and i'll probably say to move that to future tense from present tense, the city had its consent decree finalized, so there's an agreement about what we have to take care of. we have taken steps to work wh our overflow. s we have our fat, oils and eases program that we recently had a council being about those particular parts. but all of those things are in the consent decree, but there was e part throughout the campaign trail, people were e
we now have bimonthly updates by ur interim superintendent of waste manement. we have also put information and reports and summaries on the website so that people have information good about it. i told people that if i need to address problems p i'll address those problems. i'll put the information out and that's exactly what believe been doing thus far. it's not an easy situation, but we're going to deal with it, address it and continue to take steps to move us forward. but we're not flint. >> ron: no, and i'm not -- i didn't want to make any connection there at all. but you see what can happen and how pensive that can happen just overnight with a revelation like that, that particularly has an impact on public health and we know that you talk about the otherwise going into the sewer and you're taking care of that. >> mayor hart: yes, we are. >> ron: and the sewer system itself, that can be a very, very expensive thing. >> mayor hart: and we worked