I just rummaged around in my paperwork pile from being on city council for four years. I found the old sheriff contract, but unfortunately it dies not reference the Iowa Code chapter I'm looking for, and it appear I already tossed the letter from Fitzgerald that provided Code references.
In short - here were our choices as a small town -
1) Form our own police department that covers 24/7. <<Too expensive for a small town.>>
2) Contract with sheriff at his per capita charge, which I think is $50 or $52/person, and based on most recent census numbers. [NOTE - this is how Story County sets in up. In other counties they may choose to use an hourly rate for service, etc.] As per the letter the Sheriff Fitzgerald sent to us, and our insurance provider when we balked at his price and built-in increase of 4 or 5%/year, he said they were answer life threatening calls in our town if we did not sign the contract but not police reports would be filed. The aftershocks of this is that the city may no be secure insurance coverage NOR residents as a result.
-> The irony here, is that if your property is outside the city limits, the sheriff will continue to provide full service to you, and you are not subject to the per capita like your neighbor is inside the city limits.
So true, Iowa municipalities do not have to contract with the sheriff. They can form their own police department.
This was major topic of discussion all four years I was on council. As was what I call the library fiasco. State law also requires municipalities to provide a library. Our town of 300-ish shut the door on our tiny library. When the Ames library got wind of it they sent a letter saying that unless we struck an agreement with a neighboring municipality to provide library services to our resident, our residents were banned form using the Ames library. Ultimately we signed an agreement and cut an annual check to a neighboring town for joint services. I think it's BS but what do you do?
People live in small towns because the cost of living is lower. But after my council experience, I was so tired of being hamstrung by people who want the lower cost of living but expect the same services as they'd receive in a larger municipality AND trying to make our small stream of tax revenue do everything from fix streets to meet the EPA/DNR's sewage treatment standards, remove snow, maintain a city park, provide safe drinking water, etc., etc. AND meet what seems like an inordinate amount of state and federal requirements that you don't think of, like libraries and whatnot.
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