Q: When an employer does a background check, how many years do they check back?

A: It depends on the policy of each employer, but about seven years seems to be a common length. Some fields — education, medicine — may do a longer search.

Q: I hear Waterloo police/fire have a John Deere gator they drive on the street. What did they have to do to it to make it street legal?

A: The Waterloo City Council voted July 9, 2012, to approve an ordinance allowing off-road utility vehicles to use city streets and public property for the following reasons: snow removal via attached plow or blade; gardening, landscaping or lawn work; transporting equipment and personnel as part of construction, maintenance, special events or farm work; use by emergency response personnel, such as police or fire rescue; and parades. The vehicles must meet size requirements, must meet requirements of state law and display the proper Iowa Department of Natural Resources registration.

Q: What was the vote count between Tom Lind and Sharon Juon in the recent election?

A: Juon had 4,813 votes. Lind had 2,188 votes. There were 14 write-in votes.

Q: When will the grocery store be built across from CVS by the mini-mall on Franklin?

A: Developer Rodney Anderson has said he hopes to open the All In Grocers store at U.S. Highway 63 and Franklin Street by fall 2018.

Q: Are Cody Leistikow, recent council candidate, and Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register related? Did they grow up in Denver?

A: Cody said he assumes all Leistikows are related but he’s not sure how Chad is related. Cody grew up in Denver.

Q: Who is the developer for the new division that Amy Wienands’ office is in?

A: BCS Properties, a limited liability corporation, is developing the property at the northeast corner of U.S. Highway 63 and Ridgeway Avenue. The managing partner is George Cooley.

Q: How much time does a person have to get their name on a ballot for a city election?

A: For cities without primary elections, such as Waterloo and Cedar Falls, a candidate must file a petition to be on the ballot no more than 71 days and not less than 47 days before the date of the election, and it must be signed by eligible electors equal in number to at least 2 percent of those who voted to fill the same office at the last regular city election, but not less than 10 persons. Candidates can begin gathering signatures on their nomination papers well before the filing period.

Q: Is it legal in Waterloo for restaurants to charge a gratuity?

A: This is covered under Internal Revenue Service tax laws and not city ordinances or state law. Restaurants can automatically charge “gratuities” to large parties but must classify them as a service charge, which is considered a taxable wage paid to employees, rather than a tip.

Questions are taken on a special Courier phone line at 234-3566. Questions are answered by Courier staff and staff at the Waterloo Public Library.