Oskaloosa City Manager Talks Housing Cutbacks

Oskaloosa City Manager Michael Schrock Jr.

Oskaloosa, Iowa- Last week, we had the opportunity to sit down with City Manager Michael Schrock. We spoke to him about a variety of issues. Our first story was published on Saturday. Today, we bring to you our questions with Schrock on the housing department reductions.

With the budget cuts and layoffs that have recently happened in the City of Oskaloosa, how would you explain your pay raise that was voted on by the City Council.”What we looked at was whether or not there was, ummmm, You have to look at it we didn’t just do budget cuts I guess that’s the thing, we reduced a department where there wasn’t a demand for services. We had a reduction in the utilization of those services so we are not going to have that employee providing those or offering those services, so that’s how that was addressed. The pay rate and whether or not I was given an increase that’s up to my bosses and you can certainly talk to them about that.”

Our readers have questioned why police and fire positions were not cut versus the housing staff? “Because police have an increase for calls for service every year, housing has had a decrease in utilization, on the housing trust fund side.” Schrock went on to say why would the city, a taxpayer or citizen want to have extra employees on hand where there isn’t a demand. “We haven’t cut people’s available funds on HUD, we haven’t reduced their benefit. That HUD program should be self sustaining, they provide enough money to do that.”

Shcrock explained that the police have had a vacancy, and they have been unable to fill that for more than a year. “I would suspect that it’s going to remain frozen, or that if it is filled they would lose one to attrition.”

Schrock once again stated that there were two portions to housing, one was the Housing Trust Fund, and the other is HUD. The Housing Trust Fund was the one that was cut. He further explained that the program would be diminished anyway within 2 years, and the council didn’t want to spend $80,000 a year for it. The housing staff according to Schrock has been reduced from 3 employees to 1.75.


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