Waterloo resident starts Go Fund Me after Mayor's travel request - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo resident starts Go Fund Me after Mayor's travel request denied

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Some Waterloo residents want new Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart to attend a national mayors conference and they're willing to pay to make it happen.

A resident started the GoFundMe page in response to the city council denying Mayor Hart's request for $1,440 in travel funds to attend the United States Conference of Mayors later this month in Indianapolis.

Councilmen Steve Schmitt, Tom Lind, and Bruce Jacobs voted against the request.

After hearing that at least one city council member voted against Mayor Hart's travel request because of previous disagreements about the city budget, one longtime Waterloo resident says enough is enough.

"A mayor in training? Really? That is your best come back?" said Curtis DeGroote, the man who started the GoFundMe page.

During a previous interview about the travel request denial, Councilman Steve Schmitt called Mayor Hart, "a mayor in training." 

"I really think what it is is we've got a mayor in training. If you look at our mayor, he has no business experience. He has no budget experience. That is not where he comes from," said Councilman Schmitt.

 "One of our council members believes that when he arrives at his job he has all the information to do his job and he has no requirement to continuously learn?" said DeGroote.

 Curtis DeGroote is taking a stand for Mayor Hart's desire to connect with other mayors and learn from their experiences at the conference.

 And he isn't alone. This comment, "We believe education is a lifelong pursuit," one of many left with small donations on the GoFundMe page.

 "To bring ideas back into our community. To run our community with a greater rate of success, potentially. We can't afford $1400 to send him to get educated? To me that is a problem," said DeGroote.

 Schmitt saying the city's budget problems were his main reason for not approving the money.

 When asked about the conference, Mayor Hart pointed to financial benefits for the city in addition to the networking and learning experiences the conference would provide.

 "It is an important opportunity for us to get out there, to meet people, to put Waterloo on the map, and they are also a granting institution. They give hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to municipalities for ongoing challenges that they may have," said Mayor Hart.

 After being denied the funding, Mayor Hart said he would pay the travel costs himself, believing it was that important to go.

Councilman Schmitt says he believes Mayor Hart can learn all he needs to right here in the Cedar Valley.

The GoFundMe page raised more than $1000 in the first day.

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