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Tag Archives: Cedar Falls Mayor Jon Crews

Cedar Falls Mayoral Candidate Forum Recap

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber held a Cedar Falls Mayoral Candidates Forum on Friday, October 23st at the Cedar Falls Tourism Visitors Center to give investor businesses the opportunity to understand each candidate’s position on issues that affect the economy including business climate, workforce, and quality of life.

Specific topics raised included: University Avenue, the downtown waste water treatment facility, the use of Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) as an economic development tool, a part-time vs. full-time mayor, and more.

“The Alliance & Chamber serves as the one voice for business in the region. We advocate for the concerns of business at the local, state, and national level. We provide opportunities for education on issues, interaction with officials, and encourage our investors to participate in the process,” says Steve Dust, CEO of the Alliance & Chamber.

All three candidates participated in the Cedar Falls Forum including: businessman Jim Brown, incumbent Mayor Jon Crews, and retired railroad management employee Dave Halterman.

Each of the mayoral candidates made a brief opening statement. Moderator Steve Firman, Director of Alliance & Chamber Government Relations, then directed questions from the audience to the candidates.

In his opening statement Jim Brown shared his three-point platform of business development, good communication, and strong leadership. He pointed to his success launching a technology startup and in talent recruitment for John Deere as valuable experience that will help him market the city to new business and talent. Brown noted that the University Avenue project will likely move forward as approved by the current council.

Jon Crews bases his campaign on ‘facts and real numbers.’ He points to reduced residential and industrial tax rates, and quality of life and amenities as hallmarks of his tenure as mayor. Crews believes the use of roundabouts on University Avenue will reduce accidents and save lives.

Dave Halterman was a critic of the University Avenue reconstruction plan and outlined seven ways he believes the project could be handled more efficiently. He sees University Avenue as the ‘present and future of tourism and business development in Cedar Falls.” He believes the opportunity to increase the tax base is ‘bleak.’

Brown did not comment on the issue of the downtown location of the waste water plant. Crews commended the water treatment department for their efforts to mitigate the odor issue and noted that new development has continued despite the location of the plant. Halterman criticized the way EPA requirements for run-off into sanitary sewers are being addressed.

Brown supports the use of TIF. He believes it puts the City in a position of strength when negotiating with prospective businesses. Crews cited the City’s successful use of TIF and believes it should not be restricted. Halterman pointed out that residents should benefit from development in lower taxes or increased services.

Crews would support a part-time mayor position if the people voted for it, but believes a balance between strong elected officials and professional staff is best. Brown sees no reason to reorganize the structure of Cedar Falls government and believes the council should decide if the position of mayor should be reduced to part-time . Halterman voiced opposition to  a city manager position saying that the people have no recourse from the ballot box. He believes the mayor is the ‘elected CEO’ of the community.

A forum participant asked the candidates how they would make decisions when their own convictions differ from the opinions of constituents.

“If I can see something that save lives, save injuries, and saves tax payers money, then I think the elected officials need to vote their conscience.” responded Crews, “If you do what you think is right and you can sleep at night then that is what you should do.”

Halterman believes leadership should concede to constituents. “Anything else,” he stated, “is arrogance.”

“There is a responsibility of a leader to lead, to communicate, to let folks know where you stand, “said Brown. “ But you also have to respect the process, which in our city is the council. The council is the power behind the process. The decision makers have to come to a consensus. Consensus means you don’t get what you want, but you are both moving the ball forward”

Listen to a recording of the forum here.

For more information on the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and their Government Relations activities, go to www.cedarvalleyalliance.com or contact Steve Dust at sdust@cedarvalleyalliance.com or by calling 319-232-1156.

Public Leaders Host 7 Habits Session in Step Toward Collaborative Service Cedar Valley

The Alliance & Chamber presented a 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE ® Local Government Informational Session On Thursday, February 13. The session was Hosted by Mayor Crews, Mayor Clark, and Board of Supervisors Chair White at the Cedar Falls Utilities headquarters.

The hosts and other public leaders initiated the informational session to take the next step in collaboration to better serve Cedar Valley residents. It also served as an opportunity to learn how the principles that are positively impacting our schools and businesses across the area can also be applied to the public’s service.

Covey facilitator Gary McGuey along with Leader Valley Program Directory Melissa Reade gave brief presentations about The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Leader in Me, ways in which the utilization of The 7 Habits might enhance personal effectiveness, and encouraged the group to consider how these tools can assist our local governments to collaborate even more in service to Cedar Valley residents.

Approximately 50 representatives from the area governments and agencies were in attendance.

Zuidberg to Locate First U.S. Facility in the Cedar Valley of Iowa


Officials from Zuidberg, the City of Cedar Falls, Iowa, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and Iowa Economic Development Authority have jointly announced the location of Zuidberg North America, Inc. in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Zuidberg’s facility will be located in the Cedar Falls Industrial Park on Capital Way in an industrial operations building, that local developer, Brent Dahlstrom will construct this year.   Zuidberg NA starts with 10,000 square feet, to establish a warehouse and distribution facility to service the North American market (USA, Canada and Mexico).   Zuidberg NA, Inc. will distribute two product lines, Frontline Systems, and Transmissions which are manufactured by parent company Zuidberg Frontline Systems B.V. located in the Netherlands. Starting in 2015 a third product line, Tracks, will be added.

“Iowa and the Cedar Valley are very central within the USA, and have an excellent reputation for global manufacturing including a hardworking and reliable workforce,” said Rudolf de Jong, President, Zuidberg North America Inc.   “This fits with the Dutch and the Zuidberg mentality in particular,” de Jong stated.

“Also, we wish to be in the heartland of America’s agriculture and agricultural machinery industry.” de Jong added.

“Zuidberg appreciates the great and inspiring help the State of Iowa, the Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and local business leaders offered which helped to make the decision easier.” de Jong said.

Zuidberg was first introduced to the idea of an Iowa location after meeting representatives from IEDA’s European office at a 2011 trade show in Germany. After continued contact with Iowa officials, Zuidberg executives traveled to Iowa this past summer to visit several suitable locations for their North American project.

“Through our focus on recruiting supply chain companies to Iowa, we’ve been courting Zuidberg for a few years now,” said Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). “We are so pleased this advanced manufacturing company ultimately chose Cedar Falls, Iowa to call home.”

Several Iowa communities and multiple states were considered during the process.  The Cedar Falls site was selected for its location and the ability of Zuidberg to work with the developer to design the building before construction began.

“It is significant that Zuidberg makes their first North American investment in the Cedar Valley.  This decision again affirms the Cedar Valley as a location to manufacture and serve global markets,  and we deliver a quality of life that persuades young professionals like Rudolf de Jong and his family to relocate here from the Netherlands,”   said Steven Dust, CEO, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.

“On behalf of our manufacturers and all businesses and institutions, the Alliance & Chamber welcomes Zuidberg to the Cedar Valley of Iowa and North America.” Dust added. The Cedar Valley must also recognize the hard work of Lisa Skubal, Alliance & Chamber Vice President of Economic Development and her project team that sold Zuidberg on a superior Cedar Valley location,” Dust concluded.

Zuidberg North America will take occupancy of the facility in June 2014 and be fully operational by July 1, 2014.   Zuidberg will be hiring in-house sales and technical positions this spring.

“The City of Cedar Falls is extremely pleased that Zuidberg North America, Inc. has selected Cedar Falls and the Cedar Valley as its home for the company’s first facility in North America.  We appreciate the efforts of all involved to make this project a reality including the IEDA, GCVAC, City staff, Cedar Falls Utilities, Brent Dahlstrom, and of course Rudolf de Jong.” said Cedar Falls Mayor Jon Crews.

“We are glad to welcome Zuidberg as our newest member of the Cedar Falls Industrial Park and look forward to a successful long term partnership.” said Bob Seymour, Community Service Manager, City of Cedar Falls.

Zuidberg is a family owned and managed company based in Ens, The Netherlands, dedicated to serve the world-wide agricultural industry. Since 1982, farmers all over the globe rely on Zuidberg to make their businesses more efficient by making use of the Zuidberg front hitches and front PTO’s, transmissions or rubber track systems. Zuidberg‘s products are sold by importers in over 45 countries worldwide. The remarkable quality and performance of the Zuidberg products has as well been recognized by many OEM’s, more than 40 manufacturers of tractors and harvesting equipment around the globe make use of Zuidberg’s unique knowledge and experience. www.zuidberg.com

 

 

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Be part of something greater - The Cedar Valley of Iowa

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a regional economic community development corporation working to increase economic vitality and wealth in the Waterloo / Cedar Falls area and surrounding economic region. The Alliance & Chamber has approximately 800 members that represents over 40,000 employees