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Q: With the current city budget problems, why doesn’t the city cut the health care plan cost for city workers, currently a $1,600 monthly premium?

A: Most city employees are covered under negotiated and signed union contracts. The city can’t just change those benefits without violating a binding, legally approved contract. For the record, the premium cited by the caller is the family combination medical, dental and vision plan.

Q: What does the average Iowan pay in federal, state and local taxes for a given year?

A: The average Iowan paid $7,026 in federal taxes in 2016, according to an Associated Press Report. The average state and local tax bill in Iowa was $6,730 in 2015.

Q: What is actress Cote de Pablo doing since she left NCIS a few years ago?

A: Not much publicly — she’s had a few TV roles since then, but not many recent credits.

Q: There’s a CitiBank commercial using “Singing in the Rain.” Is that Gene Kelly’s voice?

A: It is. The bank has released a series of commercials featuring classic songs, using music “as the catalyst to power these spots out in the marketplace globally,” Jennifer Breithaupt, Citi’s global consumer chief marketing officer, said in an interview last year.

Q: Does Iowa have a law against polygamy?

A: The charge of bigamy is a serious misdemeanor under Iowa law that carries a sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of between $315 and $1,875.

Q: What is a number to call to report someone committing insurance fraud with vehicles?

A: Call the fraud bureau of the Iowa Insurance Division at (515) 242-5304 or send an email through the website at

Q: What is the salary of a U.S. Supreme Court justice?

A: In 2017, the chief justice earned $263,300, and associate justices made $251,800.

Q: McGrath Auto advertises on TV that they sell cars 365 days a year. I thought it was a law in Iowa that car dealers can’t be open on Sundays. Am I wrong?

A: No, that’s the law, and McGrath is closed on Sundays. You can browse the vehicles on the McGrath website at any time, though.

Q: Is valium an opioid?

A: No, it’s the in the class of drugs called benzodiazepines.

Q: When will McFarland Park in La Porte City be open again so we can use the boat ramp?

A: Normally the park opens sometime around the last week of March or the first week of April depending on road and turf conditions. When it opens, Black Hawk County Conservation will post it at

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


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