Update on the City’s Award-winning Budget

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Last week’s post about the upcoming budget sessions describes the process that the City Council and staff undergo to create a budget to meet the needs of our community. This undertaking is no small feat!

Finance Director Nancy Lueck has been with the Finance Department since 1977 and has served as the Director since fall of 2005. Nancy and her team have efficient procedures for handling the budget each year.

Not only does Iowa Code require cities of our size to complete an annual audit, but the City of Muscatine also submits the budget to be reviewed by The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) each year.

The City of Muscatine has been awarded a GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for 32 consecutive years. In order to receive this award, a governmental unit must publish a budget document that meets program criteria as a policy document, as an operations guide, as a financial plan and as a communications device.

For the 25th consecutive year, the City has also received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from GFOA for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

If you’d like to learn more about the budget process, consider attending some of the upcoming budget sessions!

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Mississippi Drive Public Hearing Set For Feb. 2

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Last Thursday, Jan. 19, there was a great turnout at the Public Meeting for the Mississippi Drive Corridor Project! Thank you to all who attended. At the meeting, City Council, citizens, and staff came together for an informal presentation and a chance to view the latest design plans.

If you would like to see design plans, but were not able to make it to the meeting, you may still view the latest map of design plans! It is on display at Public Works, 1459 Washington Street.

Next Thursday, Feb. 2, there will be a Public Hearing on Mississippi Drive at the City Council Meeting at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers. 

More information about the project and design concepts from the previous public engagement meetings can be found on the project website.

The construction for the Mississippi Drive Corridor Project is set to begin later this spring.

Governor Branstad to Attend Chinese New Year Concert in Muscatine!

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Special guests Governor Terry Branstad and his wife Chris will attend the Chinese New Year Concert in Muscatine on Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. The concert will be held at Calvary Church, 501 W. Bypass 61 and will feature the Shaanxi Province Song and Dance Theater National Orchestra. The event is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.

The concert will serve as a Chinese New Year celebration for the community as well as a time to recognize Governor Branstad for his commitment to the relationship between the State of Iowa and China before his pending appointment as U.S. Ambassador to China.

In 1983 Branstad was in his first term as governor when he signed the first sister state relationship agreement between the State of Iowa and Hebei Province. Following the sister state agreement, a small delegation from Hebei visited Iowa in 1985 to learn about modern agricultural techniques.

One of the members of the delegation was a young agricultural official named Xi Jinping.

At the time, Xi and the delegation were welcomed into the governor’s office where Branstad built relationships with the guests.

Xi’s 1985 trip to Muscatine and the State of Iowa was the beginning of a friendship between Muscatine and China.  No one would have imagined that the young agricultural official they hosted in 1985 would go on to become the President of China.

When President Xi refers to those he connected with during his 1985 stay in the state, he calls them his “old friends.”

Sarah Lande of Muscatine is among one of the “old friends” who hosted the delegation in 1985.

Lande said the Chinese New Year Concert will be a time to celebrate Chinese culture in Muscatine and also wish the governor well before he undergoes the appointment process.

“Our relationship with China has truly come full circle!” Lande said. “When Governor Branstad first signed the sister state agreement with Hebei, the goal was to build friendships. Now he’s the nominee to be the U.S. Ambassador to China.”

Muscatine’s sister city of Zhengding County, China is where President Xi Jinping held his first governmental position. Today, Muscatine has a thriving sister city relationship as a result of Governor Branstad’s work in establishing the sister state relationship and the hospitality shown by volunteers in Muscatine in 1985.

“It warms our hearts to celebrate this occasion as it gives us hope for the future of U.S. and China relations,” Lande said.

The concert is being sponsored by the Bank of China, the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China, China Arts and Entertainment Group, China Window Group, and the Muscatine-China Initiatives Committee.

All are invited to attend this night of celebration in Muscatine!

Budget Season for Fiscal Year 2017-2018

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It’s that time of year again! It’s budget season for the City of Muscatine.

The City of Muscatine must adopt an annual budget by March 15 of each year. The process began back in November, when departments received budget materials and instructions on the process. Now that each department’s budget proposals have been compiled, it is time for the City Council to hear the presentations before making their decisions on how to most effectively spend revenues.

Creating a budget for a full service city that meets our community’s needs but is responsible at the same time is no small feat. There are issues and challenges that come along with the budget process.

We want to make sure you have all of the information available to participate and stay engaged in the process. There are numerous opportunities to attend presentations before the Public Hearing, which is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, March 2, but will be officially set by City Council after department/agency presentations are made. The Public Hearing is your opportunity as a citizen to comment and share your opinion.

Take a look at the Budget Schedule and see if you would like to attend some of the presentations.

The City of Muscatine values constructive input and appreciates hearing your ideas. You can comment here on our blog, visit our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages, or email us to stay connected.

Thank you for reading and we hope you stay engaged in the budget process!