DES MOINES, Iowa - It may have taken some time, but the Des Moines City Council has finally named a new city manager.
On Thursday morning, the council confirmed Scott Sanders as the new city manager. Sanders formerly served as an assistant city manager while the council searched for the position.
Sanders said he doesn't feel there are "issues" that need resolving as he takes on this new role. Instead, he says he hopes to build off opportunities the city already has created. “The city has done a great job in the recent past with growth, construction that's going on. Again, very exciting projects. And so, it's really more of a matter of keeping that momentum going, and maybe even spreading it out deeper into the neighborhoods."
But some feel there are issues that need to be sorted out. Namely, the police and fire departments, who have expressed concern they are under-staffed. The Equitable Building fire is one example firefighters point to. Sanders says he will look into that, but doesn't believe the city has to have funding for public safety at the expense of incentives for developers, and vice-versa.
"The system is set up such that, you're only capturing resources of the new growth," he said. "And that's critical, because...you do find yourselves, in some cases, where a development would just simply not occur if the city wasn't there as a partner."
Sanders also spoke on Des Moines having the highest franchise fees and property taxes in the Metro. When asked if that's a concern regarding businesses moving to suburbs for cheaper taxes, he said "of course," but countered the City of Des Moines has a dynamic businesses can't get outside its limits.
"Des Moines has a lot of advantages that our suburbs simply do not have," he said. "If you look at the walkability of our city, and the close proximity with professionals who are potentially working with each other from business to another. We have that advantage."
The city had originally made a decision on a city manager back in July, but the person they offered the job to withdrew from consideration.