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Iowa code shows hotel/motel tax surplus could have been spent elsewhere

Editorial by Matt Marquardt –

I’m back on the statue debacle.  I just can’t shake this.  It annoys me.  I feel cheated, and I feel like my fellow citizens as a whole were cheated, by city hall and the people inside masquerading as “leaders.”

(PHOTO: I didn’t get the feeling that Dr. Jay Lala and Robin Anderson were happy to see me Tuesday afternoon as they selected locations for their statues that we paid for.  Click photo for larger view.)

These people are not leaders.  They are lackeys.  The are the pilots and crew members of a ship hijacked by Robin Anderson and the Chamber of Commerce.  The rest of us are the frightened passengers with our headphones on, sound asleep and slumped over, as the ship we call Mason City hurtles through time and space.

The hijackers are going through your purses, wallets, pocketbooks as you sleep.

The pilots – Bookmeyer, his assistant Brent Trout, and six council members – are there to make sure the charade continues and to keep you asleep and disinterested.

They are, so far, masters of this game.  We are their pawns.  We go to work, we pay taxes, and they take the money and spend it how they see fit.

As we all slept, $40,ooo hard earned dollars were taken from us – public money –  to put art in front of rich people’s businesses on Federal Avenue.

Anderson was there directing the show Tuesday, picking out locations for her free art that we paid for.

(PHOTO: Robin Anderson of the Chamber of Commerce.  She can freely have her projects which public money is spent on added to city council work session agendas and within a week have them approved 6-0 by the Mason City Council.)

City staff was there, taking time out of their day to assist.  We pay their wages, but that day, they worked for Robin.

Local business owners along Federal Avenue – Robin’s neighbors – were there too.  They have taken tens of thousands – and in some cases millions –  of dollars in local, state or federal money, to help build their fortunes.

Well, they got $40,000 more for art while we dozed.  The rich get richer.

Even more sadly, according to Iowa law, the excess hotel/motel tax Brent Trout found for Robin could have been spent on an endless list of more-deserving projects.

Go ahead and look at the code and leave your suggestions or ideas for what excess hotel/motel taxes could or should be spent on as our ship travels onward.

You have to, because the council and mayor will not bring any ideas forward themselves, and apparently only the Chamber of Commerce will lead and bring anything forward.

Let’s wake up and take our town back.


Iowa Code 423 A 4

4. The revenue derived from any local hotel and motel tax
authorized by section 423A.4 shall be used as follows:
a. Each county or city which levies the tax shall spend at
least fifty percent of the revenues derived therefrom for the
acquisition of sites for, or constructing, improving, enlarging,
equipping, repairing, operating, or maintaining of recreation,
convention, cultural, or entertainment facilities including but not
limited to memorial buildings, halls and monuments, civic center
convention buildings, auditoriums, coliseums, and parking areas or
facilities located at those recreation, convention, cultural, or
entertainment facilities or the payment of principal and interest,
when due, on bonds or other evidence of indebtedness issued by the
county or city for those recreation, convention, cultural, or
entertainment facilities; or for the promotion and encouragement of
tourist and convention business in the city or county and surrounding
b. The remaining revenues may be spent by the city or county
which levies the tax for any city or county operations authorized by
law as a proper purpose for the expenditure within statutory
limitations of city or county revenues derived from ad valorem taxes.

c. Any city or county which levies and collects the local
hotel and motel tax authorized by section 423A.4 may pledge
irrevocably an amount of the revenues derived therefrom for each of
the years the bonds remain outstanding to the payment of bonds which
the city or county may issue for one or more of the purposes set
forth in paragraph “a”. Any revenue pledged to the payment of
such bonds may be credited to the spending requirement of paragraph

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