Monthly news and announcements for residents of Story City, Iowa

Story City Briefing


To council member Connie Phillips who received the Story City Main Street Volunteer of the Year Award at the GCC & EDC Annual Meeting held on February 12th. Connie has a deep passion for downtown Story City and serves on the GCC Board. She has also been Design Committee Chair since 2000 and was active in the restoration of the Charlson Building. Receiving the 2015 GCC Volunteers of the Year award are the Story City/Lafayette Township Volunteer Fire Department. This group of 25 dedicated community volunteers provide needed public safety for this community. They were also honored for their (and their significant others) hard-work and planning of the 2015 Iowa Firefighters Convention that was held in Story City.  Congratulations and Many Thanks to Connie and the Fire Department.

Welcome Nathan Brockman

Nathan Brockman joins the city as an operator in the water and wastewater department. Nathan has been an operator with the City of Eagle Grove for nearly nine years. Nathan holds a Wastewater Treatment Grade 3 and Grade 1’s in Water Treatment and Distribution. Nathan is originally from Humboldt and is an avid sports fan. He is a Minnesota Vikings season ticket holder, plays hockey, attends races at the Knoxville Raceway, and just seems to love everything sports, recreation, and the outdoors. Welcome to Story City!

Rosy Cheeks 5K

The 17th running of the Rosy Cheeks 5k run/walk took place on Saturday, February 6th with approximately 106 participants. Eric Cogdill from Ankeny, for the fourth straight year, won the men's race with a time of 17:02 and winning the women’s race was Stephanie Mortenson from Windsor Heights with a time of 20:56.  Chris Feil was Story City's top male finisher with a time of 20:59 and Katherine Thorson was Story City’s top female finisher with a time of 24:07. A special thank you to our sponsors and those who volunteered.

Story City Parks & Rec

Registration opens February 15th for:
  • Soccer 4 y/o-6th Grade
  • Pony League Baseball (AGES 7 & 8)

More information at our website.

The Fiscal Year 2016-17 Budget – Timing, Transitioning, and Change

Timing will be key over the coming years as the City will be paying off a significant bond in Fiscal Year 2017-18. The retirement of this bond will provide the City with the resources to finance a number of planned and upcoming infrastructure, economic development, and quality of life projects and the timing in the construction of these projects will be important.
In the coming years the City will be transitioning internally with the retirement of a number of key employees and the replacement and training of these new employees will be of the upmost importance. As the community completes the update to the City Comprehensive Plan it is evident that much has changed from the plan adopted in 1997. As the 2016 plan is developed and adopted the community will again change over the next 15 years. In order for a community to progress and thrive it is vital that we understand and embrace the changes that are and will take place, but yet hold on to the traditions and values that are the foundation of Story City.
Timing, transition, and change are the three words in mind, as we present the proposed Fiscal Year 2016-17 Budget.
  • Economic Development – The highlight is the expansion of American Packaging Corporation that includes a private investment of $44.3 million of which $8.2 million is for a 96,300 square foot building expansion and the creation of an additional 94 jobs. In addition, the construction of Rich Olive Street in the Interstate 35 Business Park will be instrumental in the sale or lease of the 40,000 square foot spec building.
  • Quality of Life – Some really exciting things are taking place with the new swimming pool currently under construction and scheduled to be open in 2017.  The city is also moving forward this year with the redevelopment and refurbishment of the South Park.
  • Infrastructure Improvements – There are projects in the near horizon most of which include improvements to areas of Broad Street, storm & sanitary sewer improvements, and the extension of Holm Avenue. We are in the process of finalizing what we want to do and when we want to do it.
We have some challenges hanging out there as well. Future housing development is a critical need for the future growth not only of our community, but for the school as well. The continued
deterioration of the outlet mall is also a major concern and will eventually need to be addressed.
As always, there are numerous internal and external factors that will affect the budget during the fiscal year. Therefore, the budget should be treated as a “fluid” document that will change as the year progresses.  One of the most important goals for a city is to maintain a fiscally sound and strong budget while at the same time providing needed municipal services.
The first question everyone asks is, “Are my taxes going up?” The tax levy rate is proposed to increase by 95 cents from $9.44 to $10.39. Using the Mayor and City Council as an overall example, property taxes would increase by an estimated $116.77. The proposed increase is primarily due to the bonds for the swimming pool project where we projected that the levy rate would increase by $1.20.       
The public hearing on the proposed Fiscal Year 2016-17 Budget will be held in the City Hall Council Chambers on March 7th at 7:00 p.m. A copy of the budget can be viewed at City Hall or the Bertha Bartlett Public Library. Contact City Administrator Mark Jackson at 733-2121 or with any questions you may have.

In Search of Lincoln

They’ve come and gone, but a couple of them will be back later this fall. That is the candidates for President. Iowa held its traditional first in the nation caucus on February 1st and the month of February is also when we recognize and celebrate the contribution of our nation’s Presidents.
One of these individuals running, or perhaps it might be someone currently not running, will be elected the 45th President of the United States. Fifty years from now will this country look back and say the individual elected served with courage, with honor, and with distinction? When running for the Presidency, former President Jimmy Carter said, “America should have a president as good as its people.” He is right and we shouldn’t settle for anything less than the qualities embodied by one of our nation’s top three greatest Presidents – Abraham Lincoln.  
In the run up to the caucuses as the candidates campaigned across Iowa, I often heard about the “anger” on both sides of the political spectrum and arguably the most often word used by candidates was “fight.”  I understand the anger that permeates our politics today. Wall Street controls Washington politicians and the economy, we live in a dangerous and unpredictable world, and the American dream is fast becoming a thing of the past.
Political candidates campaign on issues, but it’s not just where a candidate stands or doesn’t stand on the issues. It’s the moral character of the individual, what formed them as a person, and what attributes do they have that would make them a great leader?
In search of the Lincoln of our time let us consider:
Didn’t look for a “Fight”
In President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural address he said, “Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the Nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it parish.” Lincoln at his core was a man of peace and upon his election to the Presidency did not initiate war with the southern states. He knew that very little gets accomplished when fighting and anger are involved. Lincoln’s style was to bring the disputing parties together and facilitate the dialogue so that they could work out their differences. It is no wonder that our federal governmental is at a stand-still when neither party will sit down, talk to each other, and work out their differences.

A person of Compassion
As President, he granted more pardons than any other President before or since him. He allowed the defeated confederate soldiers to take their guns home for hunting and horses for plowing. To Union Generals he directed them “to let the enemy up easy.” Lincoln sought “to bind up the nation’s wounds,” after the Civil War and he wanted to bring the south back into the union rather than treat them as a conquered land. He knew that compassion is what keeps our union intact; not anger.
Truly, a man of the People
He went where the people were; they didn’t have to come to him. As President, he went to the battlefield to see first-hand what had taken place, went to the hospital to visit wounded soldiers, went to the telegraph office to get information on battles taking place, or went to a General’s or Congressman’s house to discuss the nation’s business. Lincoln would make himself accessible to people through what he referred to as his “public opinion baths” by having open office hours at the White House where a citizen could come and visit with him. Most importantly, he treated each individual with dignity and respect regardless of who they were and as others may have looked down on him, he didn’t look down on others (although he is our tallest President at 6’4”).
Who will advise you?
Lincoln didn’t surround himself with people who necessarily agreed with him, but with those that did not. William Seward, Salmon Chase, and Edward Bates were opponents of Lincoln’s for the 1860 Republican Presidential nomination. Each thought they were more experienced and better educated then the country lawyer from the prairie state of Illinois. After winning the presidency he selected each of these men for prominent positions in his cabinet: Seward as Secretary of State, Chase as Secretary of the Treasury, and Bates as Attorney General. Secretary Seward became Lincoln’s closest friend and advisor. Lincoln’s second Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, treated him with contempt in a legal case they worked on six years earlier and initially thought very little of Lincoln. However, over time Stanton came to admire and love Lincoln and upon Lincoln’s death said, “Now he belongs to the ages.” Lincoln’s cabinet is arguably one of the most remarkable this country has ever had because Lincoln knew he needed each of them during this perilous time. Lincoln obtained information and advice from a wide range of people including those that didn’t agree with him and he didn’t demonize those who disagreed with him.
Decisive, but yet Listen
In July of 1862, Lincoln brought his cabinet together to inform them that he planned to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln wasn’t seeking their advice, but merely to inform them. His cabinet was split over the proclamation and the Civil War had been going badly for the union with a series of military set-backs. However, Secretary Seward pointed out that issuing the proclamation at this time would be seen as an act of desperation by the union and that he should wait until a military victory. In mid-September after the Union victory at Antietam the Emancipation Proclamation was made public. He was deliberate in his thinking and would consider all sides before making a decision, but above all he listened.
What made him the leader he became and grew into?
That is hard to say. It could have been that he grew up in poverty, but perhaps the one thing that formed him more than anything else was - death. Lincoln suffered great pain with the death of his mother when he was 9, his older sister Sarah who cared for Abraham after the death of their mother died giving birth at the age of 30, and his first love Anne Rutledge passed away at the age of 22. However, it was the death of two of his four sons that probably had the most profound impact upon him for he loved children and in particular his sons. Lincoln’s second oldest son Eddie died in 1850 before the age of 4, but the death of Willie who died in 1862 at the age of 11 hit Lincoln the hardest for they were similar in thought and spirit. Lincoln suffered from periods of depression throughout his life, but it was his ability to manage his grief and depression that made him an exceptional leader.   
All in All
Abraham Lincoln was honest, could get his point across or put people at ease with a humorous story, a person of strong moral character, a man with a deep spirit, and a towering intellectual giant. Perhaps that is why only one other individual throughout history had had more books written about them than Abraham Lincoln.

Let us not settle, but search for the Lincoln of our time! For this is what our nation requires and deserves.
Mark A. Jackson
City Administrator

City of Story City

504 Broad St.
Story City, IA 50248
(515) 733-2121
(515) 733-2460 Fax
Office Hours:
M-F 8am-4:30pm

Mike Jensen

Dave Sporleder
Becky Watson
Matt Triggs 
Karl Ostrem
Connie Phillips

Mark A. Jackson
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