More than five months after riders left town, the Anamosa City Council voted to hold the Hotel/Motel Tax allocation for the chamber of commerce until they received the $9,000 from the RAGBRAI committee to cover most of what the city had billed for the police and see the groups financials at the Dec. 28 meeting.
Council member Alan Zumbach, who made the motion, said, “This needs to stop. I refuse to play football anymore.”
“It’s gone on long enough,” he said.
The outstanding balance for RAGBRAI costs the city had billed for left outstanding totaled $32,063.79. the law enforcement portion of that totaled $9,561.57. City Administrator Beth Brincks said there wasn’t enough in the hotel motel fund to cover the full $30,000 cost and that any extra would come out of other funds.
Betty Weimer, one of the members of the RAGBRAI budget committee, said the group had $9,000 held in their account which had been planned to go toward keeping the “God Bless America Sculpture” in town.
“If we give that $9,000 to you guys, we have nothing to give to the statue,” Weimer said.
In discussions with other towns that hosted, Weimer said how the city was handling this was unlike anyone else and the committee had a great relationship with the rest of their community partners.
Getting the committee to cover the vast majority of the outstanding bill for the police department, when paired with the $15,000 the city received for RAGBRAI, would still leave the city with around $8,000 to cover.
“I think that’s a good compromise,” council member Rich Crump said.
Council member Jeff Stout said things were handled differently back in 2012 and all the costs were not line itemed, comparing the work done by city employees during RAGBRAI to snow removal efforts. Mayor Rod Smith said the city should use their seed money of $15,000 to cover the expenses and not impact the allocations of hotel/motel funds.
Member of the public, Angela Winekauf, commenting after the motion was made, said she had asked for an itemized rundown of some of the items from members of the committee, including $9,500 for city labor she felt her taxes already paid for, attorney fees and repairs to Division Street bridge for $2,700, the latter of which she said was already broken before riders came through.
“You’re trying to be a bully,” Winekauf said of the council withholding chamber funds.
Weimer said that there were still portions of the bill that the committee was concerned about and wanted clarification on and asked for the agenda item to be put on the second business meeting in January.
During the course of the discussion, some expressed confusion over why the agenda item, labeled “discussion and possible action on amending the resolution for hotel/motel allocations for fiscal year 22,” was turning into a discussion on RAGBRAI. Dusty Embree asked why an in-depth discussion on RAGBRAI was happening when it’s not on agenda.
“I like to have separate item,” Embree said, a point seconded by Stout.
“This should have been noted in the agenda item,” Stout said.
President of the Jones County Tourism Board, Becky DirksHaugsted, said she was in attendance because she was afraid, based on the agenda item, that they could be losing some of their vital funding.
Smith said the agenda item was accurately described because the funds they were talking about may need to be used to backfill the RAGBRAI expenses.
Other members of the public expressed displeasure that the process had become so dragged out, saying they believed that the current council, in their last meeting, needed to take action to put the matter to bed.
Members of the council agreed. The motion passed by a 5-1 margin, with just Stout dissenting.