Downtown Growing Pains

highdensity.pngCedar Falls downtown is America's bucolic Main Street. Nearly written off in the 80's, business proprietors, property owners, and stakeholders of every kind organized in 1987 around the principles of the Main Street America program and focused on Economic Restructuring, Design, Organization and Promotion. Saying it has been a remarkable success would be an understatement. 

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Summer Update - 2017

CityHall.jpgThe city of Cedar Falls is on a great path. Rather than get lost in the doldrums of summer, I decided to commit electrons to our going-ons. There's lots of talk about fireworks and the mayors position, please read on...

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My Informant Life

We are a product of upbringing, education and experience. We seek the best of these, but the worst can build character and a more informed worldview.HighSchool.jpg

I am an informant. I am ashamed. I wish for reconciliation.

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Council Philosophy & Virtue of Term Limits

Economy1.pngEvery day is a new day my Cedar Falls friends! While undercurrents of political dissatisfaction seem to exist no matter your political leaning, we can take comfort knowing Cedar Falls is on a solid path. In 2016, we welcomed Mayor Jim Brown and Councilman Tom Blanford to the chambers of 200 Clay Street. We launched the most ambitious road and infrastructure project in the history of our city, University Avenue. We rose above ominous flood waters. We inked an historic agreement for public-private golf operations. We advanced Public Safety modernization. We processed a record level of building permits. On the other side of good, we expanded the government control over our lives from misguided rental code expansion to denying backyard chicken freedom. But on a whole, I am proud of our city's continued progress.

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Eulogy: Death of the Independent Candidate


TaiberIA-House.pngRejoice, the election is over. And while some may not like all the outcomes, we are resilient. Our greatness doesn’t come from our government, it comes from the people. The day our nation’s mood is set by political outcomes, is the day government has become too big, too high stakes. For my race, I am beat up and spit out, disappointed, yet grateful to have the opportunity to run. I offer reflections on my Independent bid for Iowa House District 59 in the words to follow.

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Money Influence

ColumnChart.pngWhen I threw my hat into the race for Iowa House, I promised not to take a “politics as usual” approach.  My positions and platform span both sides of the aisle while focusing on common sense solutions to our greatest challenges and opportunities. Unfortunately, winning elections takes a lot of money, but I set out to challenge that notion from the beginning. I have not asked for a single dime, not one. I have even turned down large money offers. This election is about connecting with people, not dollars. If I win, I owe my gratitude and service to voters, not a party, PAC, or donor.

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Wisconsin IM 3.0

IM_WI.JPGOn Sunday (9/11/2016) I embark on Ironman 3.0. In any ordinary year, an Ironman commitment will throw a person's life out of balance. Admittedly, I am out of balance, swinging my arms on the edge. But I’ve always liked being on the edge, this feels normal. This year, my Ironman pursuit is blurred by the other priorities in life… from work obligations to city council, from Self-Help International to family commitments... this is what I love, operating at capacity. Oh, and that Iowa House thing! I do my training when others are sleeping (before dawn and way after dusk), my days are occupied by work, my evenings are dedicated to door knocking, at night I catch up on council and IA House duties. Family fills the gaps. I would rather redline than look back with regret.

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Iowa Water Quality - Conservation Credit Program

IA_Buffers.jpgIowa watersheds often absorb or transmit excess sediment and nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) from farm origins which impairs watershed ecology, recreational health, drinking supplies, and ultimately the Gulf health. The problem illustrates the tragedy of the commons where these external costs are not captured in the cost of production* - other parties indirectly pay the price (i.e. Des Moines Water Works, recreational rivers users, Gulf fishermen). The Governor proposed using SAVE (local option sales tax currently used for education) to fund nearly $4.7 billion of mitigation expense, in effect, creating a consumer-funded mitigation solution to a farm problem. The Governor recognizes and sizes the problem, but fails in offering a fair and equitable solution. Urbanites (Cedar Falls citizens) already pay their fair burden through local property tax to fund waste water treatment, often called urban point source. This is a farm problem that calls for a farm solution. Simply stated, our goal should be to reduce agricultural nutrient and soil loss to natural occurrence by coupling best conservation practices and appropriate incentives.

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Make Iowa #1 in Education, again

EDU1_(1).pngMake Iowa #1 in Education

If Iowa is going to be a growth state, we must differentiate our offerings among our peers. There was a time when Iowa education ranked #1 in the nation (when I graduated 1995!). It was a source of pride, a badge of honor, it attracted families and business. Today, however, we have fallen off the podium and are relegated to the middle of the pack. We need to perform triage on our current status and develop a non-partisan plan to restore our #1 status as a differentiator, as a competitive advantage, as a building block for an unknown future.

My state-level education priorities:

  1. Fix the Allowable Growth Debate
  2. Restore Local Control
  3. Fund the Student
  4. Elevate UNI Educational Leadership

 

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Leader in Business

Champion.jpgWhen a politician uses phrases like 'job creation' and 'improve our economy', ask for their credentials to speak on the topic. Heck, ask what they know about economics, capital markets, and workforce development. Ask them if they have worked with local, state or foreign governments to establish or grow businesses. In my professional life, I build businesses for CPM Holdings and wear many hats. One day, I might be closing a multi-national acquisition. Every day, I make at least one pot of coffee. I know business.

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Nick Taiber Launches his 'Grow Iowa!' Campaign for Iowa House District 59

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Nick Taiber recently unveiled his Grow Iowa! campaign for Iowa House District 59. Since 2010, he has served on Cedar Falls City Council driving reorganization, budget restraint, infrastructure investments and civil liberty issues. Nick is in a unique position to leverage his business, council and civic insights to make Iowa a magnet state for residents, business and quality of life.

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Choice Rider Experience - MET Bus

TheApproach.jpg

I abhor driving, it is drudgery. But it just so happens that my two boys, Julian and Roman, really like soccer and hockey. By and large, these programs are run out of Waterloo's excellent Young Arena and Sportsplex facilities. In our just-in-time society, that means driving. Couple the drive with the maze of one-way couplets, pointless four-way stops, and endless traffic signals in downtown Waterloo, it is the stuff of road rage. There must be a better way. Enter MET transit.

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Balanced Incentives

CF_Sign.JPGBalanced Incentives: my next musings on Cedar Falls Business First (still looking for a better name). In this post, I want to refocus our incentives to support a broad-based approach to business creation, incubation and attraction. Grab a cup of coffee, energy drink or cocktail and let's sort this out together.

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The Old Economic Development Toolbox: TIF

Picture1.pngThis post is a TIF primer (CF's main economic development tool): free land (and infrastructure) and tax abatement. I have reservations about TIF. Reluctantly, most Iowa city's must play the game to level the field. An incentive ceases to be when it becomes an entitlement. 

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Nick's Council Connection

pheasantridge.jpgThe Committee and Council meeting are full of goodies. In Committee, we discuss Cedar River improvements, rental conversion incentives, and the golf course's cash hemorrhage. In council, we adopt pay resolutions for the first class of Public Safety Officers ('PSOs'), propose naming recognition(s), and approve Viking Road and University Avenue next steps. And more...

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Dick McAlister

Richard_McAlister.jpgIt would be impossible to overstate Dick McAlister’s impact on Cedar Falls. Through his four decade career, he has quietly led our
city institution exercising excellent judgement while balancing political and organizational realities. Dick McAlister has touched nearly all we value in our city, his impacts will be long felt for decades to come.

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Nick's Council Connection

greenFees.jpgCouncil Chambers, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Golf fees, parking bans, fire protection, pavement management, and the last divisional report. I remark on it all.

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Business First - Code Cleanse

FortuneTeller.jpgIn this Cedar Falls Business First post, I focus on ‘code culture’. While other cities add code and tailor incentives with the hopes of landing the next big business, Cedar Falls has an opportunity to change the code tidal wave. How does a code review elevate our game? It sets a tone for welcoming enterprises, ideas, innovations, and start-ups. Instead of looking to codes for permissions, business can set its focus on creating value, serving customers, and growing business.

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Iowa Competitiveness Initiative

I offer a platform for our current and aspiring legislators below, I call it the Iowa Competitiveness Initiative. WeSEAL_IOWA.png are competing for people, talent and capital with other states, I hope this stimulates good thinking. This platform is compatible with millennial views, but its value crosses all generations and people who want to embrace a stronger economy, better education, civil liberties and good government. With Iowa values, ethics and ingenuity, anything is possible. I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Cedar Falls Business First

startup_communities.pngAs policy makers, Cedar Falls City Council is tasked to create a business environment that fosters job creation, innovation and wealth creation. To grow our economic base beyond incremental ‘brick and mortar’ wins, we need to set our efforts on organic, new business based on innovation, productivity and Midwestern ingenuity.

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Nick's Council Connection 9September2015

simplesolar.jpgCouncil Chambers, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Divisional reports for goal setting, land lease for CFU's Simple Solar project, street light transfer. In Nick's Brief's, I follow-up on the TriCounty Drug Task Force presentation from the last council meeting. Happy reading.

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Tri County Drug Task Force Presents...

swatvehicle.JPG“We are not winning” said Sheriff Tony Thompson referring to the Black Hawk County’s War on Drugs. “If you don’t like the law, change it at the federal level”, said Waterloo Public Safety Director, Dan Trelka in defense of drug policy enforcement. Sheriff Thompson and Director Trelka are the defacto drug czars of Black Hawk County and recently offered a peek into the shadow, TriCounty Drug Task Force.

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Nick's Council Connection August 3rd, 2015

uber.jpgCouncil Chambers, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

A lot of council work must have been done while I was on RAGBRAI, this is a lighter agenda. Ah yes, it's summer time. Still good stuff... rental updates, a new health center and TIF, and a transportation discussion to finish us off.

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Nick's Council Connection 20July2015

section8.pngJuly 20, 2015 (Council Chambers, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613)

 We cover solar, big building projects and a major affordable housing concern.

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Nick's Council Connection 15June2015

garbage.jpgJune 15, 2015 (Council Chambers, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613)

We cover one-sided refuse collection, fringe-floodplain development flexibility, University Avenue property acquisition and 20th Street developments. I also remark on the Council's support of failed drug policies.

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Nick's Council Connection 18May2015

epic.jpgMay 18, 2015 (Council Chambers, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613)

This week, we review the Highway 58/Viking interchange and Center Street. We create a GIS position. And we deliver transparent government through continuous innovation.

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Nick's Council Connection 20Apr2015

trafficlights.jpgApril 20, 2015 (Council Chambers, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613)

This week, we cover the Tiger Grant, put up traffic signals, add ordinances and much more.

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Nick's Council Connection 6Apr2015

GIS.jpgApril 6, 2015 (Council Chambers, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613)

April starts with a shower of business. GIS, Inflow & Infiltration, street signals and public safety fill this Council Connection edition. Keep the feedback coming!

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Nick's Council Connection 16Mar2015

UNI_Intermodal.jpgMarch 16, 2015 (Council Chambers, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613)

I&I (the pain, the solution), healthy rec snacks, trails and better transportation. 

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Nick's Council Connection 16Feb2015

CedarRiverRRBridge.jpgFebruary 16, 2015 (Council Chambers, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613)

In Committee, we review street lighting cost transfer and Cedar River watershed developments. In Council, we have a full slate of important actions ranging from rental ordinances to a public safety building study. Also, save the date for the Prairie Rapids Project launch!

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Nick's Council Connection 2Feb2015

February 2, 2015 (Council Chambers, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613)singlefamily.jpg

We hear from fellow council members who attended a recent Planning Conference. We debate the Single Family Rentals Ordinance into the second reading. We also consider requiring hard-surfaced driveways for every home in the city (over time). 

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Nick's Council Connection (19Jan2015)

richardhunt-muskegon-01.jpgJanuary 19, 2015 (Council Chambers, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613)

There's no shortage of agenda items this week. We cover a 4-way stop request, the 2016 budget, rental ordinances, POTUS visit... and that's just part of the Committee agenda.

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Nick's Council Connection (05Jan2015)

January 5, 2015 (Council Chambers, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613)

solar_farm.JPGHappy New Year! It's a great week for a council meeting.  In Committee we cover the following agenda items: (1) Farmer's Market Update; (2) CFU Solar Garden; (3) Zoning Ordinance Amendments for Parking; (4) Compost Expansion; and (5) Marijuana Policy Review. In the Council meeting, we approve the Capital Improvement Budget, the College Hill District SSMID among other things. As always, I encourage all forms of feedback.

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Nick's Council Connection (15Dec2014)

Council Meeting Date: December 15, 2014southmainstreet.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

I cover South Main speed limit, capital improvements, Beach House and offer a transportation resolution.

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Nick's Council Connection (01Dec2014)

Council Meeting Date: December 1, 2014hoopla.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

In this 50th post, I cover economic development, golf fee deflation, Hoopla and more.

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Nick's Council Connection (17Nov2014)

Council Meeting Date: November 17, 2014cannibas.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

I cover bi-weekly yard waste pick-up, the College Hill SSMID and Goal setting and the case for cannabis paradigm shift. 

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Nick's Council Connection (03Nov2014)

Council Meeting Date: November 3, 2014coffee.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Some people must rely on the Connection like I rely on coffee. This seldom happens, but I could not publish the Connection last meeting due to work and family conflicts. The withdrawal symptoms will last only a little while, I will continue to publish the Connection and brew coffee like my life depends on it. In this issue, we talk audits, driveways, metro cooperation and so much more.

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Nick's Council Connection (6Oct2014)

Council Meeting Date: October 6, 2014walkingpath.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Municipal Operations and Programs goals and needs, University Avenue reconstruction (the non-controversial side), trails and more...

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Nick's Council Connection (15Sep2014)

Council Meeting Date: September 15, 2014SEAL_IOWA.png

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

The televised Committee of the Whole meeting continues, this week Ron Gaines presents the 'state of the department' for Community Development. In this post, I comment on process, dragnets and Iowa State Competitiveness Initiative.

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Nick's Council Connection (2Sep2014)

Council Meeting Date: September 2, 2014camera.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Lots of quick hitters - Old Post Office, goal setting, Dry Run Creek, traffic lights, committee meeting broadcast and Willow Falls.

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Nick's Council Connection (18Aug2014)

Council Meeting Date: August 18, 2014SupplyAndDemand.png

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

In this post, I review a request to modify an old agreement, old rules and new moratoriums.

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Nick's Council Connection (4Aug2014)

RentalMoratorium.pngCouncil Meeting Date: August 4, 2014

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

In Committee we talk about public danger and a moratorium solution. Regular council business includes approving construction bids, lobbyist agreement and third party loans, among other things.

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Nick's Council Connection (21July2014)

SohoAtNight.jpgCouncil Meeting Date: July 21, 2014

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

I cover the cafe ordinance, rental conversion task force, sidewalk infill and University Avenue.

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Nick's Council Connection (7July2014)

Council Meeting Date: July 7, 2014Independence_day.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Happy Independence weekend! I cover major economic developments, general biz and offer some thoughts on transit in Cedar Falls. This also marks the meeting switch to the first and third Mondays of the month so interested persons can follow both Council and School Board meetings.

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Nick's Council Connection (23June2014)

Council Meeting Date: June 23, 2014DSCN8868.JPG

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

I cover the GCVA, National Flood Insurance (the good and philosophical), Bruce Sorensen and lemonade stands.

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Nick's Council Connection (9June2014)

Council Meeting Date: June 9, 2014

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

In committee, we review the levy (flood planning and preparations) and the cafe ordinance. In Council, we consider important resolutions, ordinances and agreements related to city restructuring, boards & commissions, animal control and a slew of normal business.

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Nick's Council Connection (12May2014)

Council Meeting Date: May 12, 2014CFPL.JPG

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

We have a brief Committee meeting where we interview candidates for the Library Board and review bills & payroll. I cover a couple interest items in my Briefs - animal control and local regulations. Let me know what you think!

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Beyond Benign - Local Regulations and Business

govtregs.jpgCedar Falls' code of ordinances has evolved over the decades to continuously refine what an individual or entity (business or otherwise) can and cannot do. At all levels of government, it is rarely reviewed for effectiveness or relevance - especially business regulations.

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Nick's Council Connection (28 April 2014)

Council Meeting Date: April 28, 2014CollegeHillPlaza.JPG

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

In Committee, we talk about the federal Clean Water Act. In Council, we consider Minimum Rental Housing amendments and banning multi-unit conversions. In my Briefs, I plea to revisit the Sidewalk Cafe Ordinance. I offer my thoughts below.

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Nick's Council Connection (14 April 2014)

Council Meeting Date: April 14, 2014citylean.JPG

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

In Committee, I cover boards, Greenhill and city reorganization. In Council, I cover a couple agenda points of significance. In My Briefs, I vent about government funded funerals.

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Nick's Council Connection (24 March 2014)

CFlevee.jpgCouncil Meeting Date: March 24, 2014

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

In Committee, we cover a bunch of quick hitters. In the Council Meeting, we advance Prairie Parkway, $6.6MM levee grant and a whole lot of infrastructure investments.

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Nick's Council Connection (10 March 2014)

Council Meeting Date: March 10, 2014allure.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

The Emerald Ash Borer (a pretty, destructive bug), landmark sculpture, Prairie Parkway.

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Nick's Council Connection (24 February 2014)

Council Meeting Date: February 24, 2014CFPinPoint.JPG

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Lets talk FY 2015 Budget (eh, property taxes), public information requests, and Zuidburg.

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Nick's Council Connection (10 February 2014)

Council Meeting Date: February 10, 2014

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Lets talk State Street parking, multi-unit restrictions, and forced conversions.

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Forced Conversion

MyHomeForRent.pngForced Conversions - There's another well-deserved debate brewing about regulatory powers of City Hall. This one is wrapped in all matters of concern from homeowner rights to affordable housing. Should owner-occupied homes be subject to minimum rental housing codes? The following language (in bold) being considered would dramatically change the way people are allowed to live in Cedar Falls: 

"The provisions of this article shall apply... to all buildings or portions thereof... which are non-owner occupied or owner-occupied with tenants paying rent for the living space..."

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Nick's Council Connection (27 January 2014)

Council Meeting Date: January 27, 2014CFmap.JPG

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Let's talk golf subsidies, metro cooperation, prairie programming and much more. 

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Nick's Council Connection (13 January 2014)


Council Meeting Date: January 13, 2014CityHall.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

I talk capital improvements, single-family conversion restrictions, and economic development. Read below for your dose of City happenings.

 

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Nick's Council Connection (23 December 2013)

Council Meeting Date: December 23, 2013Bicycle_Lane_1.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

It's a holiday week, we go heavy on fruitcake, light on council content. In this post, I discuss a couple items but save the commentary for a bike gestapo piece, a shout-out to the school board and reflection on the public transit dilemma.

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May I See Your Bicycle License?

SmithBikes.jpgIn a recent Waterloo Courier article (click here to link), a former multi-year councilperson offers good advice for living with a bicycle. In the same breath, he also demands a licensing program that would require nothing less than a gestapo to enforce.

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Nick's Council Connection (9 December 2013)

Council Meeting Date: December 9, 2013wethepeople.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Your city council is earning their fruit cake - saving money on street lights, evaluating MET services, approving urban renewal projects and much more. Read on to learn more.

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Nick's Council Connection (25 November 2013)

Council Meeting Date: November 25, 2013NorthIndParkStreetSign.PNG

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

It feels like a good time to meet inside. This week I touch on public art, TIF balances, goal setting (at least the absent scorecard), and other city morsels.

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Nick's Council Connection (11 November 2013)

Council Meeting Date: November 11, 2013GlobalHands.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

A warm welcome new Council Members, Mark Miller (Ward 1) and Jim Stichter (Ward 4). In this connection, I remark on the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance, dangerous dogs and global language - and a bit more. Getting down to business... 

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Nick's Council Connection (28 October 2013)

Council Meeting Date: October 28, 2013SignView.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

FY2014 Goal Setting consumes the Committee meeting.  I take a shallow dive on TIF incentives and feature the latest trail asset in our community.

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Nick's Council Connection (14 October 2013)

Council Meeting Date: October 14, 2013eightten.JPG

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

There's a lot going on. 2014 Pavement Management, the Audit, sanctuaries, dragnets, and transparency. I even try to explain the 8.10 and low taxes. The what?  Yeah, there's this thing called the 8.10 and it's pretty important. 

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Nick's Council Connection (23 September 2013)

Council Meeting Date: September 23, 2013PostOffice1.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

This evening, we go on an annexation road show, say hi to a mayoral appointee, approve parking lot landscaping requirement, review an independent contractor, and more. In my Briefs, I discuss transparency and the bloody council meeting.

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Nick's Council Connection (9 September 2013)

Council Meeting Date: September 9, 2013parking.png

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Parking studies cost real dough, selling the city (a parcel at least), and a trip to the LED wonderland all happens after the council meeting (yep, there will be no pre-council committee meeting). I also discuss leasing land from the city, voluntary annexation, preservation enhancements, over designing, and a bit more.

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Nick's Council Connection (26 August 2013)

Council Meeting Date: August 26, 2013TrafficCalmingTechniques.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

It is a light meeting this week. We revisit the Sidewalk Cafe Ordinance, set hearings, and do the minutia business of Council. In my Briefs, I cover a long journey and traffic calming.

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Going the Distance

IMLogo.jpgOccasionally we all do something that makes people question our sanity. On Sunday, I undertake my first Ironman triathlon. Many have asked, but why?  To which I reply...because I think I can. Because I enjoy the preparation, the strategy, the test. Because I want to relate to others that have accomplished the feat. Because it will keep me healthy and out of trouble. Because I put it on my bucket list. Because there is a little insanity in all of us.

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Nick's Council Connection (12 August 2013)

Council Meeting Date: August 12, 2013OpenMic.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

You gotta love living in Cedar Falls. From the Taylor Morris benefit and Cedar Valley Trails Festival, there is no shortage of things to do or to love about Cedar Falls! There's a business side to all this too, local government.  In the agenda review, I discuss downtown, College Hill development, food trucks, self-financing and a slew of other things. Most importantly (maybe a slight overstatement), my phone number is changing!  Really, I can't temper my excitement for the savings.

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Emergency Communication, the topic

P25_radios.jpgSo if the headline did not get your attention, maybe $14 million dollars will. This is what it will cost to outfit Black Hawk County emergency communication capabilities, from towers to radios. It looks like we have to do it, so the only real question is who will pay for and manage it. But there is always room for introspection. Read below...

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Nick's Council Connection (22 July 2013)

Council Meeting Date: July 22, 2013

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

CowAppreciation.jpg

It has been a good week.  I met with several constituents on wide and varied topics. I am continually amazed by the passion and commitment of Cedar Falls citizens. It fuels my own energy to serve.  Below, I have outlined agenda items of interest (parking, betterment, collaboration...) and always a little more.

 

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Nick's Council Connection (8 July 2013)

Council Meeting Date: July 8, 20135thandBluff.GIF

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

The Sturgis Falls Celebration is an extraordinary event connecting people with food, entertainment, activities and responsible libations.  Sturgis was followed by a wonderful July 4th. We have a celebration of city and country, now we need to work in a party for Iowa statehood (December 28, 1946 - but I suggest a harvest party). 

This our meeting ....

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Nick's Council Connection (24 June 2013)

Council Meeting Date: June 24, 2013ParkingExample.GIF

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

The Planning and Zoning Commission has had no less than six meetings on the College Hill Overlay update; I comment on the update below. Also, consider the Part-Time Mayor debate dead, or maybe worse. Compared to Staff's original proposal, the Mayor's proposal all but assures citizens will pay $70,000 in extra taxes while the reorganization component reduces responsibility and authority of the Mayoral office.  Sometimes it's hard to give a darn when rationality is usurped by the wacky (but I do and always will). Here's your update...

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Nick's Council Connection (10 June 2013)

Council Meeting Date: June 10, 2013CouncilChambers.gif

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

It's spring and things are happening all over the city.  Farmer's Markets, new bridges, road repair and city structure discussions are in progress.  It is was an honor this week to welcome William and Judy Ruud to UNI and our community.

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Nick's Council Connection (28 May 2013)

Council Meeting Date: May 28, 2013Memorial_Day.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

My phone and email have been abuzz with Mayor structure talk, I welcome any and all feedback.  This week, we have a light committee meeting, the main council agenda has a few more interesting topics.

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City Structure Debate is not a Referendum on the Current Mayor

FullPartTime.GIFThe debate to modify our ordinance to a part-time mayor form continues to steep in the minds of council, staff and residents. While many cite the past to justify our current form, this is not a referendum of today, this decision prepares our city for the future.

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Nick's Council Connection (13 May 2013)

Council Meeting Date: May 13, 2013TZZT.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

After a few light committee meetings, we will have some timely discussions on tasty topics. 

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The Professional City

I have been calling for a discussion on changing Cedar Falls' archaic city structure since my 2009 campaign.  While I have not been Quimby.GIFsuccessful in bringing the issue to a head, we finally take on the discussion in earnest in our May 31th Council Committee meeting (the meeting where the real work gets done).  Why?  I would love to say the impetus was reason and leadership.  But I will take reality for what it is - the pending financial crisis has forced the city to explore more efficient and effective forms in the name of cost savings.  Sometimes progress requires a crisis!!  I will be covering the facts and the issues as the conversation progresses.

The following was a published letter from September 2011.  It is unedited since that time.

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Nick's Council Connection (22 April 2013)

dachshund.GIF

Council Meeting Date: April 22, 2013

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

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Can You Build This?

Geodes.jpgThe City Museum of St. Louis is an evolving, functional sculpture that serves as a whimsical playground... a stunning mix of metal, concrete, wood, plaster, glass, and mosaic forms.  There are pinch points, head obstructions, and knee busters.  Perhaps most amazing is how this museum serves thousands of people in the face of building codes, ADA regs, and bodily injury hazards.  There must be a story behind this...

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Nick's Council Connection (8 April 2013)

DSCN8865.JPGCouncil Meeting Date: April 8, 2013
Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

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Nick's Council Connection (25 March 2013)

DSCN8863.JPGCouncil Meeting Date/Time: March 25, 2013 (Committee of the Whole: 6:55pm, Regular Meeting: 7:00pm)
Council Meeting Location: City Hall (220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613)

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Nick's Council Connection ( 11 March 2013)

CF-Logo.png  Council Meeting Date/Time: March 11, 2013 (Committee of the Whole: 6:10pm, Regular Meeting: 7:00pm)

Council Meeting Location: City Hall (220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613)

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New High School?

CF_High_School.jpgWhile not directly related to City Council, many have requested my views on the proposed High School.  And since this inquiry came in at the same time as the new website, we'll try out the blog!!

Sound investments in school infrastructure can add value to a community and has the potential to improve student achievement.  But when is the investment sound?  The short answer, 'when it demonstrates operating efficiency gains and improved student achievement'.  I responded to a questionnaire from UNI and thought it would be worthwhile to share.

 

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