Waterloo, IA: (319) 232-1156 | Cedar Falls, IA: (319) 266-3593

Tag Archives: community

In the Media: Cutting historic preservation tax credits

“There are a lot of buildings that would continue to sit empty or would have been demolished by now had that tax credit not been available to make the project economically sound,” said Steve Dust, president and CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber. “And that’s repeated all over Iowa.”

Steve Dust is quoted in an article by Erin Murphy, State house reporter for The Courier/Lee Enterprises, about Iowa projects helped by federal historic preservation tax credits and the possible effect on Iowa projects if Congress’ tax reform proposal is approved.

Cutting historic tax credits could cripple economic development, officials warn, Erin Murphy, The Courier, November 13, 2017

New Iowa First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, Jan. 11, 2016

CONTACT:       Governor’s Office 515-281-5211

Ashley Jared, Iowa Finance Authority 515-725-4934

Branstad, Reynolds Announce 2016 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Program

Mortgage Credit Certificates to provide Iowa home buyers with up to $2,000 in annual federal income tax credits

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds at their Monday morning press conference today announced that eligible Iowans can now buy a home and reduce their federal income tax liability by up to $2,000 a year for the life of their mortgage through the Take Credit mortgage credit certificate program administered by the Iowa Finance Authority. Approximately 780 home buyers are expected to benefit from the program in 2016, which is now available for new purchases through a network of lenders throughout the state.

“The Take Credit program will not only make home ownership more affordable for first-time Iowa home buyers, but it will also provide an economic boost to Iowa communities,” said Governor Branstad.  “This program has the potential to keep $1.5 million in hard-earned income in Iowa, income that would otherwise be spent on federal taxes.”

The program provides eligible home buyers with a tax credit against their federal income tax liability every year for the life of their mortgage. Eligible homeowners may take fifty percent of their annual interest paid on the mortgage loan, up to a maximum of $2,000 per year, for up to 30 years. The remaining mortgage interest may be taken as a deduction from taxable income if the home buyer itemizes.

“Home ownership plays a critical role in both the quality of life for Iowans and our economy,” said Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds. “This program is a win-win for Iowa home buyers and the state of Iowa. I encourage all Iowans planning to purchase a home in the near future to look into this opportunity as well as the Iowa Finance Authority’s mortgage and down payment assistance programs.”

Eligibility for the Take Credit Program requires home buyers to meet household income and purchase price limitations and meet the definition of a first-time home buyer. The federal income limits vary by county and household size, currently ranging from $67,500 to $115,220 per year. A purchase price limit of $258,000 applies statewide with the exception of federally Targeted Areas where the limit is $316,000. A first-time home buyer is defined as someone who has not owned their primary residence in the past three years but also includes home buyers purchasing in a federally Targeted Area and qualified veterans who have not used tax exempt mortgage financing previously.

“Interested home buyers can apply for a mortgage credit certificate through a Take Credit Participating Lender as part of their financing process. Home buyers will need to have approval of the mortgage credit certificate before they close on a home so they should ask their lender about this opportunity early in the application process,” said Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Dave Jamison.

After an eligible, pre-approved homeowner has closed a mortgage loan with an IFA Take Credit Participating Lender, IFA will issue the homeowner a mortgage credit certificate. The homeowner in turn may apply the credit against their federal income tax liability on an annual basis for the life of their mortgage. The credit may be claimed on IRS Form 8396.

The mortgage credit certificate was authorized by Congress in the 1984 Tax Reform Act and capacity for the program is derived from an annual allocation of tax-exempt bond volume cap from the U.S. Treasury Department. The 2016 Take Credit Program has an allocation of private activity bond volume cap sufficient to issue mortgage credit certificates for mortgages totaling approximately $80 million. The certificates are available on a first-come first-serve basis and the program will be closed for further reservations once available funding has been exhausted. More information is available at IowaFinanceAuthority.gov/TakeCredit.

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Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Business Education Series

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is hosting three seminars for business professionals during the month of May. The Business Education Series is a local link to information on timely issues that influence the business bottom line. May seminars will focus on simple office changes that save money and improve the work environment, data security to mitigate exposure, and employee wellness. These seminars will give attendees instant access to “do it now” business growth tools.  Each program will feature experts and a question and answer period.

The May 13 session “Solutions That Improve Your Business Environment Inside & Out” will be presented by Pete Olsen, Energy Services Manager at Cedar Falls Utilities, Dan Channer, Partner at StruXture Architects. The focus will be on energy efficiency, waste reduction, and water conservation. Additionally, Ellen Woods, Director of Sales at Integrated Interior Solutions Group Kirk Gross Company, will address creating an environment and culture in which employees can thrive.

The May 20 session on “Data Security” will be presented by Chris Fereday, President of PDCM Insurance, and Dave Wyant, Account Manager of Sales at Networking Solutions. They will present information to help area business leaders understand how to navigate the complexity of privacy/cyber liability exposure and provide valuable insight about how to mitigate exposures.

On May 27 the topic will be “Business Sense of Wellness.” Liz DeJoode, Wellness Consultant at PDCM Insurance, will speak on their approach to help employers win the battles against increasing healthcare costs. Additionally, learn from UnityPoint/Allen Hospital, Veridian Credit Union and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare on how they implement wellness programs on site.

Each seminar will take place at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in downtown Waterloo, IA, from 7:30-9:00 AM.  The cost is $25 per seminar for Alliance & Chamber investors and $45 per seminar for non-investors and includes breakfast. Please register one week in advance of each seminar by calling (319) 232-1156 or email bwubenna@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

The premier sponsor is PDCM Insurance and the gold sponsors are Around the Corner Productions and First National Bank.

The mission of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is to increase economic vitality and wealth by leading collaborative economic and community development. The Business Education Series is one of many initiatives of the Alliance & Chamber designed to sustain and strengthen businesses and organizations in the Cedar Valley Region of Iowa. Details about the many programs and initiatives of the Alliance & Chamber can be found at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com or by calling Steve Dust, CEO at (319) 232-1156.

 

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The Cedar Valley Economy – Strong and Growing!

The Cedar Valley Economy – Strong and Growing!

The strong and growing Cedar Valley economy contains the right conditions for business and career success. Current economic growth and its demand for quality talent is benefiting manufacturing, business services, retail, housing, education, healthcare and other enterprises that contribute to the vitality of the region.

Strong Cedar Valley job market is creating opportunity and raising income.

According to Smart Solutions Group, employment in the Cedar Valley Region Labor Market grew by 7.4% from 2003 to 2013, slightly above the State of Iowa during the same period. As of November 1st, Iowajobs.org, the web-based job board of Iowa Workforce Development (IWD), shows 1,504 positions currently available in the Cedar Valley. Many of these jobs are in the advanced manufacturing sector. Welders and CNC operators are among the many positions available in advanced manufacturing operations in the Cedar Valley.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber recently surveyed Cedar Valley employers regarding their immediate employment needs. “We’ve identified businesses in the Cedar Valley region with immediate openings,” reports Danny Laudick, Talent Solutions Coordinator with the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.  “We are coordinating efforts to match available talent with these companies or with training in the fields where there is greatest demand.”
Connecting to training

The Alliance & Chamber collaborates with Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) and Hawkeye Community College (HCC) and other agencies to connect talent with employment and training opportunities through career and resource fairs, data collection and sharing.  There is ongoing collaboration between employers and agencies to design programs to stay ahead of shifts in demand and provide rapid response to immediate workforce needs. The Alliance & Chamber identifies the specific employment needs in the Cedar Valley business community and acts as the voice of business. The Alliance & Chamber develops innovative solutions to solve talent issues. They use their network of partners and affiliate to bring others into the process.

In response to local demand, Hawkeye Community College now offers short term certifications for industrial maintenance and CNC machining programs. The CNC Machining Program prepares students for high demand, entry-level positions as a CNC machine operator or general machinist, one of the most demanded skills by area employers in the Cedar Valley. Both programs are designed to create a pipeline of available talent with new skills to fill these high demand jobs in a short amount of time.

The Department of Industrial Technology at the University of Northern Iowa also offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the areas of: Construction Management; Electrical Engineering, Manufacturing Technology, Technology Education, and Technology Management. The UNI Metal Casting Center, offers students practical hands-on experience in concepts in additive manufacturing with modern well-equipped facilities and cutting edge technology. At the Additive Manufacturing Center, located at the Cedar Valley TechWorks, students operate a variety of 3D printers, including the ExOne, the largest of its kind in North America.  Students are producing products and part prototypes for manufacturing clients across state.  UNI students are ‘floor ready’ upon graduation having had real world experience working with private sector businesses on actual projects. The Center also provides manufacturers affordable access to research and development and rapid prototyping. The Department of Industrial Technology currently enrolls over 500 students annually.

K-12 Career Training

Cedar Valley school districts are making sure their students are prepare for success beyond graduation through a variety of initiatives and partnerships with the business community.

In the Waterloo Community School District, Career Academies give students the opportunity to choose an area of interest, such as construction, business and finance, marketing, engineering, healthcare, etc. Students then take a sequence of classes to prepare for the real world of work in that field. Waterloo also has an International Baccalaureate Program which is an intensive, two year academic program in the high schools that prepares students for success in higher education and for effective participation in global society. The program includes writing an extended essay (similar to a doctorate thesis, but at high school level), a focus on critical thinking as well as creativity, action, and service activities. Waterloo’s West High and East High are two of only three schools in Iowa to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.

Both the Waterloo and Cedar Falls school districts have embraced the Leader in Me initiative championed by the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. The Leader in Me is based on Stephen Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The initiative teaches students 21st Century soft skills for success in college, career, and citizenship. Through authentic leadership opportunities and daily practice of the habits, participating schools are transforming their school cultures into proactive, leadership focused communities of learning and development.

Cedar Valley West’s School to Work program brings together students from four Cedar Valley school districts (Aplington-Parkersburg, Dike-New Hartford, Gladbrook-Reinbeck, and Grundy Center) to provide valuable career information and connections to area businesses. Businesses are asked to provide speakers, offer internship and job shadowing opportunities, give worksite tours and contribute financial support.

Through the School to Work program, students throughout the Cedar Valley are becoming more prepared for the local job market. Businesses are molding potential employees by creating hands-on ways for students to explore careers while still in high school. Business – education partnerships like these are helping to bridge the talent gap and produce individuals prepared for employers across sectors in the Cedar Valley.

Diverse Economic Base
The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and the Cedar Valley Regional Partners have placed diversifying the economic base as a top priority of business attraction . . . and it has paid off. The diversified economic base has created jobs and helped the region weather the last recession far better than most parts of the country earning the Cedar Valley the title “Recession Busting” by Area Development Magazine, a leading executive magazine covering corporate site selection.  The Cedar Valley is not reliant on one sector to maintain the health of the economy.

Since 1996, 76% of new jobs created in the Cedar Valley have not been tied to a single industry, specifically agricultural manufacturing. Likewise, 81% of the new capital investments in the Cedar Valley were equally diversified during the same time. This diverse industrial base provides increased opportunities for wealth creation and employment in the event of a downturn in one sector.

“Most new capital investment has come from companies who have expanded existing operations here or established new locations in a broad spectrum of industry sector. This is consistent with new construction and new jobs created,” notes Lisa Skubal, Vice President of Economic Development with the Alliance & Chamber.

Adding to the industry mix is the growing Information Technology (IT) sector. In the Cedar Valley, IT consists of local start-up web product and software companies, and is among the fastest growing sector in percentage of current workforce in the Cedar Valley market area. Enterprises also see internal IT operations increasing and contributing to the growing demand for highly skilled programmers, engineers, coders, and designers in the Cedar Valley.

Conversations with technology leaders in the Cedar Valley suggest that IT employers are increasing their employment by up to 50% or more over the next few years.  This makes availability of trained/educated individuals critical. The Alliance & Chamber, Kate Washut of Far Reach Inc., and Linda Allen of Hawkeye Community College (HCC) convened a discussion between Alliance & Chamber investors in the IT sector and HCC academic and career education teams. The group discussed courses, training, and programs available through Hawkeye, and the expectations of the employers. Dialogs like this, between business and education, are vital to better understand of specific skill demand in order to offer training programs that are most relevant to industry needs.

 

“The strong job market is creating opportunities for individuals to take advantage of an increase in training opportunities and raising personal income,” says Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. “We see growing demand across industry sectors. IT related fields, advanced manufacturing, higher education, healthcare, logistics, and business service markets make up the employment landscape of the Cedar Valley.  The competitive wage scales being offered go much further here than in most areas of the country thanks to our low cost of living.”

The cost of living in the Cedar Valley is 8.1% lower than the national average according to third quarter 2014 Cost of Living Index prepared by The Council for Community and Economic Research. Utility costs are an even greater value, at 10.4% below the national average – a key factor for companies looking to locate or expand their operations.

While the cost of living is low, prosperity is on the rise in Cedar Valley. According to the new US Cluster Mapping website launched by Harvard Business School and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Cedar Valley Region is one of a handful of regions with growth in prosperity from 1998 -2012. Our economic region ranks 7th among 170 economic regions in the country for prosperity growth. The scorecard is based on three categories of data: performance (the economic activities of the region), business environment, and demographics & geography. The Cedar Valley is also in the top 20 regions for growth in annual personal wages at 3.49%.  This outpaces the national average of 3.16% during the same period.

Low cost of living and strong personal wages may contribute to an increase in spending. In September of 2014, the latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers were released showing considerable growth in the Cedar Valley. The Waterloo/Cedar Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area (GDP) grew to $8.7 billion from 2012-2013. This is up 5.6% from the previous year, according to data released in September from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.  Collectively, real GDP for U.S. metropolitan areas increased 1.7% during the same period. The Waterloo/Cedar Falls metro area had the second highest percentage increase in GDP compared to other Iowa metros.

These gauges of economic health demonstrate the strength and continued growth of an already stable Cedar Valley economy and instill confidence both in consumers and business leaders. Recent announcements of business expansions reflect confidence and optimism in the region.

Business Confidence and Private Investment

Cedar Valley businesses across the region are making investments in their companies. Increasing exports, and hiring talented, productive people demonstrates their confidence in the strength of the Cedar Valley economy.

CBE Companies, with international locations, chooses to keep their corporate headquarters here in the Cedar Valley where their success started over 80 years ago. “We continue to tap into a rich talent pool in our own backyard to fill a variety of positions and levels – from contact center associates to fraud service representatives to IT, Analytics, Finance, Marketing and HR professionals,” says Mary Phillips, Chief Human Resources Officer for CBE Companies.

Based on a variety of regional data, CBE has determined that the Cedar Valley has the talent resources available to expand their staff considerably.  “We use information from both the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and Iowa Workforce Development when considering expansion.  We evaluated unemployment rates, education levels, Spanish speaking population, underemployment, average wages, and average ages.”  Over the last year, CBE has had two major surges in hiring making them one of the top ten major employers in the Cedar Valley.

Mark Hanawalt is the CEO of United Equipment Accessories, Inc. (UEA) in Waverly, Iowa and the current chair of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI). He often shares with peers from around the state that the Cedar Valley is a great place to do business. “They know about the Cedar Valley and never disagree,” notes Hanawalt. UEA has found that being part of a regional economy driven by advanced manufacturing has contributed to their growth. “Because of the presence of very large manufacturers in the area, we can utilize a common vendor base with tremendous capabilities without having to go outside the area.”

UEA invests in training and development opportunities that contribute to the personal and professional growth of their employees.  UEA provides training for new hires, development opportunities with specifically designed skills enhancement training, job cross-training, as well as a Tuition Assistance Program for employees. Highly technical positions, such as CNC programmers, machinists, engineers and IT professionals regularly participate in training opportunities relating to technology advancements and developments, job knowledge enhancement, computer software and system developments and updates.

“United Equipment Accessories, Inc. has been a Cedar Valley manufacturer for over 60 years.  Even as we have grown substantially over the years, we have never felt the need to expand outside this area,” says Hanawalt. “Our pool of labor talent is very high.  Employees are well educated, trained, and motivated to be productive employees.”

Start-up Momentum

While long standing businesses continue to expand, the start-up community in the Cedar Valley is picking up momentum at a rapid pace. ‘Serial’ entrepreneurs and young visionaries are gathering in coffee shops, bars, and meeting rooms around the Cedar Valley to share ideas and connect with resources in hopes of launching the next big thing. Start-Up Drinks, Start-Up Weekend, BarCamp, One Million Cups, Cedar Valley Opencoffee, and Cedar Valley Makers are a few of the organized efforts to support a young and energetic start-up community.

Steve Dust, CEO of the Alliance & Chamber, believes that “the prosperity of the Cedar Valley still depends on fostering, growing, and attracting entrepreneurship in all types of businesses. We want to encourage more people to build on our history of successful entrepreneurship, and the Alliance & Chamber supports efforts to enhance the strong, growing start-up scene throughout the Cedar Valley economic area.”

The Cedar Valley is thriving

With an abundance of good paying jobs and access to higher education, the Cedar Valley offers a wealth of opportunities for individuals to grow their careers. Businesses are thriving and making significant investments in the region by expanding their operations through building projects, new processes, equipment, technology, and talent. The lower cost of living, excellent school districts, and overall safety make it a desirable place to live, work, and raise a family.

The mission of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is to increase economic vitality and wealth by leading collaborative economic and community development. Details about the many programs and initiatives of the Alliance & Chamber can be found at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com or by calling Steve Dust, CEO at (319) 232-1156.

Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Encourages Shoppers to Buy Local with Contest and Annual Home for the Holidays Campaign

Home for the Holidays is a seasonal retail campaign to encourage the local community to support the retail business investor/members of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.  The Home for the Holidays message emphasizes the power local purchasing has to strengthen and enrich our community.  The campaign reminds shoppers that local spending  returns to the Cedar Valley in the form of critical tax revenue to fund public services, wages and benefits for our neighbors and family members, and local business to business commerce all fueling the Cedar Valley economy. Alliance & Chambers businesses will display the Home for the Holidays logo in their window and on their doors beginning this month.

New to the campaign this year is a Facebook contest. Twelve gift certificates to Alliance & Chamber businesses will be given away between Nov. 23 and Dec. 21. Shoppers are encouraged find Homer, the Home for the Holidays mascot, at participating Alliance & Chamber investor retailers. To win, shopper must look for clues found on the Alliance & Chamber website and Facebook page, then be the first to post a photo or ‘selfie’ on the Alliance & Chamber Facebook page. Posts should include the hashtag #CVHomefortheholidays. The photo must be taken at the business and include the Homer mascot.  If Homer has already been found and winner identified, shoppers can still post a ‘selfie’ with Homer to be entered in a drawing on Dec. 21.

In conjunction with the annual campaign, the Alliance & Chamber coupon & specials page provides  more incentives to shoppers to buy local. These coupons are in printer-friendly format or can be accessed through their mobile app Cedar Valley Connect , available on both iPhone and Android applications.

Shoppers can find a detailed Alliance & Chamber Investor Directory with links to coupons and specials at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com and on the Cedar Valley Connect mobile app.  All promotions are compiled at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com/coupons/php.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a private, non-profit corporation representing and advocating for the interests of business, industry and institutions operating in the Cedar Valley. A top priority of the Alliance & Chamber is to sustain and strengthen the retail and service sector throughout the Cedar Valley.

For more information on the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and the Home for the Holidays campaign go to www.cedarvalleyalliance.com/homefortheholidays , www.facebook.com/cedarvalleyalliance, or contact Steve Dust at 319-232-1156 or by email at sdust@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

 

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CEDAR FALLS NAMED 2014 GOOGLE eCITY for IOWA

On October 15, Cedar Falls was named the 2014 eCity of Iowa.  The eCity Awards recognize the strongest online business community in each state – the digital capitals of America. These cities’ businesses are embracing the web to find new customers, connect with existing clients and fuel their local economies. Cedar Falls joins the ranks of America’s leading cities in the digital economy.  Google  recognized the city’s innovative businesses by holding a community celebration with Sen. Chuck Grassley, Mayor Jon Crews and other community representatives on Wednesday, on Main St. in Cedar Falls.

Senator Grassley presented the award to Mayor Crews, who credited the citizens of Cedar Falls for passing the community broadband referendum 20 years ago this month, and credited CFU will building and continuously updating the community’s broadband infrastructure.

Local partners include:

  • City of Cedar Falls
  • Cedar Falls Utilities
  • Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber
  • Business and Community Services at UNI
  • Small Business Development Center at UNI

 

 

 

GREATER CEDAR VALLEY ALLIANCE & CHAMBER NOW ACCCEPTING NOMINATIONS FOR ANNUAL DIVERSITY & INCLUSION AWARDS

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber announces nominations will be accepted now through the end of Oct. 31, 2014 for Diversity & Inclusion Business Awards to be presented during the 2015 Annual Celebration on Thursday, March 26th at the Park Place Event Centre.

This recognition is given for outstanding contribution by a business or organization for leadership in creating and strengthening an environment of diversity and inclusion in the workplace culture, business practices and in the community.

Nominations can be made through the nomination form on the Alliance & Chamber website, www.cedarvalleyalliance.com/diversity through the end of October. Nominees will be invited to complete an application and interview process to determine winners.

Past award winners from the 2014 event include Allen College Unity Point and Veridian Credit Union. Past award winners from the 2013 event include Em’s Coffee of Independence, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, Iowa, Inc., and Wartburg College.

The Cedar Valley Diversity and Inclusion initiative is designed to strengthen the Cedar Valley through promoting diversity, full inclusion, and cultural competencies in business, and to focus on the importance, impact and benefits to business of effective diversity and inclusion practices. The partnership also hosts an annual educational summit in the fall and two multicultural receptions throughout the year.  The next reception will be Oct. 28th at Hawkeye Community College from 4:30-6:30pm.

Descriptions of the awards, nomination forms, and application form are available at the Alliance & Chamber offices or online at www. cedarvalleyalliance.com/diversity .  For additional information, please contact Alliance & Chamber Vice President of Community Development, Cary Darrah  at cdarrah@cedarvalleyalliance.com or 232-1156.

 

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Alliance & Chamber Supports Cedar Falls Facilities Plan Bond Proposal

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber supports the comprehensive facilities plan proposed by the Cedar Falls Community School District, and encourages patrons of the district to support this important program at the polls on Tuesday September 9.

Businesses and institutions of all types and sizes rely on modern infrastructure to encourage and accommodate economic growth and job creation. Perhaps as in no time in the past, the quality of educational content and experience delivered in advanced school facilities is critical to the continuing strength of our economy. Our Cedar Valley regional school facilities must lead in design, features and amenities to help our students become leaders in educational preparation and attainment.

This is true throughout the Cedar Valley economic area.  We have all seen tangible and intangible benefits from the building program financed by the Local Option Sales Tax over the last decade. Now, it is essential that our educational facilities at all levels prepare students for the emerging jobs and challenges of community citizenship of tomorrow.

We point out that this is precisely the kind of investment that must be made now to ensure that our students can take advantage of the opportunities of the future economy. Our businesses are particularly sensitive to increases in property taxes given the disproportionate burden placed directly on commercial and industrial property owners and indirectly on their tenants. For us to see the advantages to these investments in school facilities, we also recognize a huge return on these investments – a return that comes in the form of more successful teacher recruitment and retention, and student preparation and achievement.  We must see the plan helping to “fill the pipeline” with graduates well-prepared to assume highly productive roles in the future economy. We currently have a skills mismatch, and a shortage of talented people for new jobs that rely on “brainpower” and soft skills. Students with rounded educational experiences highlighted by hands-on experience, and achievement in sciences, technologies, mathematics, as well as the arts and the interpersonal skills are and will be needed. We must make these key investments to provide the best environments in which knowledge and skills are learned and attract the highest quality educators.

But schools facilities construction programs cannot be executed outside the parameters we expect of any public investment in infrastructure or service. Further, with many school districts and institutions within the Cedar Valley examining capital and facilities programs and financings, we must insist on consistency in evaluation of the proposals and value delivered to the taxpayers, as well as the students of our regional districts and institutions.

  • We believe that the plans must take into account the most modern design and service delivery models feasible.
  • The plans must be comprehensive and consider new partnerships with other educational institutions and districts, fulfilling its obligations to the patrons of the specific school district or constituency while maximizing collaboration, coordination and minimization of duplication among neighboring school districts and higher educational institutions in programs, human resources, curriculum, and services.
  • The plans must have been vetted by the patrons in a manner to elicit and consider the spectrum of views on feasibility, financing mechanisms, and impact on their community, in order to establish credibility for the amounts needed to implement modern, and indeed, futuristic facilities expansion, repurposing, and replacement programs.

The Cedar Falls proposal meets these criteria and the expectations of our economy.

  • The district has been very good stewards of the patrons’ funds, maintaining a very low tax rate as compared to similar sized districts
  • The district has not asked their patrons to approve a bond issue for facilities in nearly 40 years.
  • The plan replaces facilities for rational reasons: the new facilities replace obsolete designs that can no longer be modified and upgraded to meet modern standards; landlocked facilities are moved to larger sites where future needs can be anticipated and addressed; and facilities are located where population growth is occurring and anticipated in the district.
  • The plan was vetted by District leadership internally and with significant community involvement, review and comment.

We encourage businesses, parents and all patrons of the Cedar Falls Community School district to support the bond referendum on Tuesday September 9.

Adopted by the Board of Directors

Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

 

 

Steve Tscherter

Chair

 

Steve Dust, CEcD

CEO

 

 

 

Cedar Valley Investor Report

The Cedar Valley Investor Report gives a snap shot of the activities of the Alliance & Chamber, news from our investors, and informative articles selected for their relevance to economic growth in the Cedar Valley.

Cedar Valley Investor Report

Sue Beach Joins Alliance & Chamber as Director of Investor Relations

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is pleased to announce that Sue Beach has joined the Alliance & Chamber as Director of Investor Relations.

The Director of Investor Relations is responsible for investor recruitment and retention. Beach will work collaboratively with Bette Wubbena, Director of Investor Services.

 “Sue has served as a volunteer on Alliance & Chamber committees and as an Ambassador for both the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and the Waverly Chamber,” says Cary Darrah, Vice President of Community Development, “Her knowledge of our services and the return on investment available to investors will be a major benefit to our existing investors and to other businesses and institutions in the Cedar Valley economic area looking to give their operations a competitive advantage through the Alliance & Chamber.”

Beach has over 20 years of sales, marketing, fundraising, and management experience. Most recently, Beach led the Cedar Valley through the adoption and implementation of the Blue Zones Project of Waterloo and Cedar Falls as the Program Manager.

Beach is a graduate of North Iowa Area Community College and Hamilton College.

“Sue is a respected leader in the community with extensive expertise in building relationships and generating revenue, volunteer support and action,” says Alliance & Chamber CEO Steven Dust, “Her business and non-profit experience is a good match for this new role in the Alliance & Chamber. Our investors can expect the same kind of enthusiasm and energy to ensure they’re receiving maximum return on their Alliance & Chamber investments.”

Beach resides in Cedar Falls with her husband Sean and has an adult daughter Cheyenne.  She will begin her duties with the Alliance & Chamber on May 12,2014.

The mission of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is to increase economic vitality and wealth by leading collaborative economic and community development.  Details about the many programs and initiatives of the Alliance & Chamber can be found at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com.

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