City of Indianola Updates that You Should Know

The following information is from City Manager Ryan Waller's Friday email. Please take note.

Statewide Tornado Drill

The Iowa Statewide Tornado Drill is scheduled to take place at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 24.  

Roadway & Alley Repair Work

This week, Streets Division staff continued repair work on potholes by using 44 hours of labor and 1.2 tons of cold mix asphalt. Additionally, crews began grading unpaved gravel roadways and alleys to remove potholes and ruts from these driving surfaces. The reporting of potholes from the community is always welcomed and greatly appreciated. To do so, please call (515) 961-9415 or send an email to [email protected]. Residents may also submit the information via the link below.  Crews will evaluate the area of damaged pavement and determine how to best address it.

Submit a Request (LINK)

March Planning & Zoning Commission Meeting

The Planning and Zoning Commission will meet on Tuesday, March 9 for its regular meeting.  The agenda and meeting materials are available on the City’s website (linked below).

Agenda Center (Link)

Joint City Council/IMU Board of Trustees Meeting

The City Council and IMU Board of Trustees will have a joint meeting on Wednesday, March 10.   This meeting will be to discuss the upcoming renewal for the City’s and IMU’s health insurance program renewal.  The City and IMU partner on this program to keep associated costs lower than if coordinated separately.  The agenda is available on the City’s website (linked below).  The meeting will be aired live via the City’s YouTube Channel and a Zoom Webinar (link and login information may be found in the meeting packet).

Agenda Center (LINK)

Fiscal Year 22 City Budget 

The final public hearing for the City’s Fiscal Year 22 budget is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on March 15, 2021 at the Indianola Municipal Building (110 N 1st Street).  Linked below is a budget presentation provided during a previous City Council meeting.  As noted during the presentation, the property tax levy will remain flat for the upcoming fiscal year (at $13.63/$1,000 of valuation) even with adding three new Firefighters/Paramedics to help with increased calls and the creation of a rental inspection program mandated by the State of Iowa.  Also noted in this and prior presentations, Indianola continues to achieve one of the lowest property tax rates in the Metro, which is largely due to the economic growth of our community (~$200 Million over the last 5 years).

Budget Presentation (LINK)

Streetscape Project Meeting

An invitation to an informational meeting on Thursday, March 11 at 6:00 p.m. regarding the Streetscape Project was previously mailed to all property owners on the City Square, as well as along Howard Street and Buxton Street.  During the meeting, staff will update attendees on the Streetscape project, including the associated one-way to two-way conversion on the Square and along Buxton and Howard Streets.  Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this meeting will take place virtually.  This information is linked below.

 Meeting Invite (PDF)

Community Development Reports

Attached are the following reports provided by the Community Development Department:

Current Projects Update (PDF)

Of the 14 projects listed, two are awaiting a submittal from the developer, three are in review and nine have been approved and are in construction.

2021 Building Permits (PDF)

This week, three building permits were submitted, including one for a 50-unit, $5.5 million senior living apartment complex (Williams Terrace). There are currently three building permit applications in review and 11 building permits have been issued year to date.

Code Enforcement (PDF)

There are currently 20 open code enforcement cases (11 code enforcement cases have been opened for the year).

City Council Anticipated Agendas

Below please find links to the documents containing anticipated agenda items for upcoming City Council meetings.  These are working drafts.  Agendas are published on the City’s website the Thursday prior to a scheduled City Council meeting.

Anticipated Draft Agenda – March 23, 2021 (PDF)

Anticipated Draft Agenda – April 5, 2021 (PDF)

"A Distant 3rd"

The special election is over and it was a ton of fun, even though it ended like it did for me. It really doesn't matter. I'll be involved with things that are going on in the City.  I'll speak up.  I'll post things here that I think people should know. I'll help make Indianola a kind of College Town that Simpson students will feel comfortable making their own.

Thank you to everyone who voted. Thank you to the reporters and students who showed great interest. Thank you mostly to everyone who prayed. When you pray for God's will in the plans, then you can't be disappointed with an outcome. Most of you know that Jeremiah 29:11-13 is one of my favorite scriptures. I have JER 29 on my license plates. He knows the plans He has for me. Plans to prosper me and not harm me. His plans give hope and a future.

So, we move on. We let the City Council and the Mayor move on. We move on but still pay attention. Move on with me in that way. And thank you again for your involvement in this election.

One Snowflake Can Become a Blizzard

Today is the day. Election Day. It's easy to think, "What good will my one vote do?" Like the title says, though, one snowflake can become a blizzard. We know that well in Iowa.

I appreciate every vote, so please take a few minutes to exercise this right you have. I thank you in advance.

Then head up to the north side of The Square to Crimson Anchor. I'm going to hang out there for awhile and would love to have any of you pop in to say hi, have a cup of their amazing coffee and let me have a chance to thank you. I plan to be there from 10:30-maybe noon.

I'll use other restaurants and coffee shops in the future. Hope to see you soon.


Channel 8 (KCCI) Mayor Candidate Story

Here's the picture of the three of us running for Indianola Mayor. Channel 8's Cynthia Fodor did a zoom interview, but their zoom would not download or process for some reason. She had to simply use photos of us and merely state that we are running in a special election. I told her that I broke her camera.

The vote is tomorrow, March 2, 2021. Please head to American Legion, any time between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. You'll need your driver's license. Someone will probably take your temperature, and I doubt if the whole process takes more than 10 minutes.


Mayor Candidate Answers to Public Questions

There were six questions submitted to the Indianola Independent Advocate for the three mayoral candidates to answer.  With permission, I am posting my responses here. I do invite you to subscribe to the Independent Advocate to read the responses from the other two candidates.

Question 1: What are your thoughts on the proposed combination library/city hall?

"Stop kicking the can down the road" is a popular statement heard in recent years. My opinion? The kicking must stop. The City Hall must be brought up to code. The building was new when my grandpa was Mayor - in 1965! The boiler system is antiquated; half of the building too hot, the other half too cold. Security is an issue. There isn't room for Police and Fire Departments to store what they need quick access to for emergencies. The Library has issues which must be fixed.
   The goal is to provide safety, a nice work environment, convenience to employees and citizens of Indianola; all up to code.
   On February 1, 2021, I addressed the Council on this very topic. I asked the Council to please keep in mind that the Justice Center is landlocked on The Square. Space underground is planned for expansion. But— if in the next few years the County needs space to expand, the City of Indianola will have that large building to deal with. A County problem, but I suggested that the City be prepared to find ourselves owners of a spacious building for all-things-City when the County has to build on new green space. Trading City Square land from the County for land still within the City limits, might be a future consideration.
  Combining City Hall and the Library brings various problems. City Hall in a residential area? The Library location is landlocked, too, and parking may be worse than what is there now.
  At this time, the Council has voted to combine City Hall with the Library. Right or wrong, this is the plan and solves some immediate problems.
Question 2: Indianola issued 65 permits for single family homes in 2020 with an average value of $231,000. What kind of housing does Indianola need to attract and what would you do to encourage those types of projects?
The term "bedroom community" has been used to describe the location of Indianola for many years. Indianola's location is conducive to homes of any value being built here. Men and women with high pressure jobs, working for the State and companies in Des Moines, teaching in other school districts or colleges, etc., could feel like they're able to leave work behind when entering our City Limits.
   We need homes for people of all incomes - whether single family homes, condos, apartments or care centers. Our Chamber of Commerce, real estate offices, our School District, successful art/music programs, sports teams, restaurants, churches, the Opera and Simpson College do amazing jobs of promoting this City.
   Des Moines may be a small big city that's close and accessible, but Indianola is a comfortable haven where singles and couples feel Welcomed Home.
Question  3: Local government always seems to have small numbers of residents involved. How would you work to change this to get more people engaged in local government?
When committees are formed and people are invited to be a part of them for studying big or small projects, no one hears from the squeaky wheel until the committees divulge their findings. The time to give input is when involved in the processes.
   I have developed a blogsite ( where I can inform citizens of projects or problems that will impact them in some way: The blogsite will direct people to the Chamber of Commerce website as well as the website for the City of Indianola. Our City Manager sends weekly updates in emails every Friday. I'll let residents know of that.
   I would also specifically invite service club members, business/restaurant owners, pastors, high school, middle school and elementary school teachers and students to attend Council meetings.
   People who get involved have better chances of seeing the end results that we like the most - if we are involved.
Question 4: If you received $1 million grant for the city of Indianola to spend however you want, what would you do with it and why?
For receipt of a $1m grant to be used specifically for the City of Indianola, any details of this donation would be questions first for the legal department, starting with the City Attorney. The Mayor could be sure that the donor shares what he or she truly wants done with the money. Will they trust the City's plan to use the money, or expect to be involved in decisions? To use it on sewer work might not be exactly what they'd like. It doesn't show the gift very well.
   Should it be used for one large project in town, or divided among various projects? If this donor is living, an arrangement would need to be made in the beginning as to how any remaining money is used or saved. (When the City receives grants for specific projects, all money must be used only for that. Remaining money is returned.) In a "gift" situation, maybe remaining money could be put in a Trust or Foundation in the donor's name for use in the future.
   If the donor willed money for the City at their passing, this creates different questions. Many times sports teams are given help for equipment or travel.. School music programs receive the same types of gifts. Maybe the money could be used to build a community art center. Kiwanis groups have built Miracle Fields for special needs players to play baseball games. If the donor doesn't designate a desire for how the money is used, this is where the community could be involved. Applications for the money, an amount needed, the reason for the request, how permanent the project would be in the community, etc., would be made public with a deadline.
   Legal advice is required.
Question 5: Mayors around the country have been a key force behind U.S. action to reduce greenhouse gases. What action will you pursue for Indianola that would help conserve energy and improve our clean energy production?
One way to help with energy conservation is to get the buildings up to code. Use of old old furnaces and air conditioning systems is not energy efficient. Part of the Streetscape project around The Square is to help with water flow, updating the hydrants so fires can be put out and updating of the sewer system under the buildings.
   Permits given for new buildings, homes or improvements on buildings and homes must address what new equipment is approved. If scooters are approved for use around town, we should know if they're electric or use gas. Indianola shouldn't rely on one source of energy - look at Texas now with frozen wind turbines. Solar arrays might be blocked by snowcover. "Hybrid energy" sources must be studied. Awareness and timely action are key.
   A $1m gift might be useful for this topic.
Question 6: What do you love about Indianola?
Indianola is home. I was born in Methodist Hospital in Des Moines, but was raised in Indianola and graduated from IHS. During college and when living in different States or cities for a few years, Indianola was still home. Sometimes living elsewhere helps you know exactly where the best place is.
   I want this City to continue to flourish and to welcome visitors, businesses and residents, new and old, with open arms. I want people to want to stay here. Passion is a word that is over-used when trying to prove a point. Passion, however, explains my desire to promote the City of Indianola best.
   I've been involved with some of the most important projects imaginable; interacting with children, teens and adults. I've been on prestigious local Boards, helped start a recovery program, helped save a building, helped start a school. In everything I do, my goal is to help people feel better about themselves. I love this town and would be honored to be Mayor, in the footsteps of my grandpa.
   I love Indianola because this is a City where any goal can be met.


Do Your Homework

The special election for Mayor of Indianola is coming up quickly. 

Be sure you have listened to everything we candidates have said in radio interviews ( - the local Indianola station), have read everything we candidates have said in interviews ( and The Indianola Record Herald) or by reading the articles and our answers to questions sent in by the public in The Indianola Independent Advocate ( Go online with The Simpsonian, (, the Simpson College online paper).  If you were in attendance at the Mayor's Youth Council panel at the high school, consider our introductions of ourselves and the answers to questions.

I haven't finished visiting businesses and talking to people.  I love meeting people.  With "social distancing" necessary, it has been nearly impossible to present ourselves in front of service clubs, church groups, etc., because most aren't meeting on a regular basis or are only meeting by Zoom, Skype....

A lot of thought went into answering the questions submitted by the public to The Indianola Independent Advocate and the interview questions conducted by Amy Duncan, George Shillcock, Andrew Swadner and Paul Hyatt.  Those reporters were thorough.  Thank you to all of you and to Becky Lane, sponsor of the Mayor's Youth Council, for arranging the panel for the high school students.  Though most of the students are too young to vote, they showed great interest by their presence that morning.

Communication, which means speaking and listening, are critical to the success of any leadership position.  Those two ingredients determine a good or mediocre leader.  I want your vote for Mayor of Indianola, Iowa; my home town, your home town.  Do your "home" work.



Simpson College

Today, Thursday morning, February 25, I had the pleasure of being on a zoom call with Paul Hyatt, Junior, and staff writer for Simpson College's student-run newspaper, The Simpsonian. We discussed a lot about how Simpson fits with the City of Indianola. I believe it was a profitable, worthy conversation.

If anyone wants to check The Simpsonian out, go to To contact Paul directly, go to [email protected] 

The article about the mayoral candidates won't be posted for a couple of days. This is an online newspaper.

Indianola High School's Mayor's Youth Council

Seven a.m. (7:00 a.m.) is early.  But I'll tell you something. When you get up and around to be at a meeting at that time, you know it's important and you want to be there. This is when the Mayor's Youth Council meets at Indianola High School. 

That's what I can say about the three of us running for Mayor in the special election on March 2, 2021, and about Becky Lane who sponsors the Council. I can say it, too, about the twenty high school students who attended, right on time at 7:00.

They opened with the Pledge of Allegiance. I'm impressed. The candidates for Mayor were then given three minutes to introduce ourselves and explain why we want to be Mayor of Indianola. After our introductions, the students were given the opportunity to ask questions.

My main point, and this applies to anyone of any age, is that people have to be involved. People with ideas need to surround themselves with "help." I made the point that my list of everything I've done (which just touched the surface) sounds like bragging - but weren't just done alone. Everything took help by various numbers of people. 

If we don't get involved with the start of each process, we have no business complaining when the decision/s don't go our way. There's no "I told you so" allowed if you haven't opened your mouth. 

Example, which I didn't tell this morning, is that due to a pretty awful car wreck where the drunk driver who hit us was killed, I got involved with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Because of our experience and because of getting involved with MADD, I spoke at the Capitol before the Iowa Legislature to help convince them to lower the acceptable Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) for drivers. Which they did.

Not much can be done successfully, well or lasting without many people working together. I have been on many Boards and Committees where solutions have been found through studying the issues and making plans. But when other people find out the outcomes, many times they complain and question it all. ~Squeaky wheels.~ If they had been involved from the beginning, there wouldn't be as much arguing or push-back.

Like a well-oiled machine or a winning team, people need to get involved and work together. That is what I think the students on the Mayor's Youth Council will do. They are already beginning their involvement. I'm proud of them.

Proud of this opportunity

I find the right words so very hard to choose to start this particular blog. Fun. I'm having fun. But serious. It is important and serious.

When my grandpa decided to run for Mayor of Indianola, I was in 5th grade. I don't remember if he discussed it with the family. I don't remember if he asked for help with signs and flyers. I do remember him sitting in a car doing a radio interview. Why a car, I don't know. It wasn't like he could get away from us noisy grandchildren and do the interview with his cell phone. Not in 1965. The reporter probably used a tape recorder to record the interview. I don't remember ever hearing it.

As an adult, I've been involved with many political campaigns. Local County candidates, State candidates and Dr. Ben Carson for President.

I've said before, but it's true, I would be honored to serve Indianola as Mayor, even for the ten months left in Mr. Shaw's term.

News you should know about this week is that our local radio station is airing interviews done with the three candidates during "Let's Talk Indianola." Our 3-year-old, local radio station will air an interview I had with Andrew Swadner on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.

Stephanie Erickson's was aired today (Monday 2/22), mine will be tomorrow and Pam Pepper's on Wednesday the 24th. The radio station is KNIA 94.3 FM. If you miss hearing them at the time the radio plays them, you may go to the website and listen to them online. The link for that is 

I can also tell you that the Simpsonian College Newspaper will interview us this week. The purpose is to help students realize the ability and necessity to participate in the election process. I'll tell you more about that, about the student doing the interviews and writing the article, and how you can get a copy of the paper or read it online after it is completed.