Home News Wednesday Afternoon News, March 2nd

Wednesday Afternoon News, March 2nd


City Council Hears City’s Financial Report

(Le Mars) — Le Mars City Council heard a financial report regarding the city’s financial position from Chad Regnier with Williams and Company.  Regnier offered the report during Tuesday’s city council meeting.  The auditing official says the city has a “healthy fund balance” and that the city did not go over budget in any category.  Regnier says the city has enough funds in reserve to operate at least 187 days before needing to collect additional revenues from taxes and fees.  The city council also approved the levy rate of $11.90 for the upcoming fiscal year budget of $23,763,159.  Expenses for the next fiscal year which will begin on July 1st is estimated at $23,692,677 giving the city a financial cushion of $70,482 between expected revenue and expenses. A date of March 15th has been set for the public hearing regarding the city’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2022-2023.  The city council also approved the grant application through the Land and Water Conservation fund with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, which, if awarded, the city will collect $125,000 that will be used to help fund the Plywood Recreational Trail.  Leslie Bartholomew appeared before the city council on behalf of the Plywood Trail Association requesting the city to approve the grant application.

Councilman Mike Donlin asked if there is a final date that has been established with the completion of the recreational trail between Le Mars and Merrill?  Bartholomew informed the city council that due to some recent accidents involving semi trucks and trailers at Merrill and the damage caused, Godberson-Smith Construction Company, the contractor responsible for installing the Plywood Trail bridge on the north end of Merrill will be delayed with some of their construction.

The city council also discussed the Central Avenue overlay project. They decided that although submitted bids for the project were considerably higher than what was originally estimated, the council decided to proceed with Steve Harris Construction company bid of $1,272,331.  The estimate for the overlay project was calculated at $913,756.  The city had received four different bids for the Central Avenue overlay project ranging from $1.2 million to $1.9 million dollars.




City Council Approves Primebank Easter Egg Hunt

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars City Council gave their approval for the Primebank Annual Easter Egg hunt which will take place at Cleveland Park on Saturday, April 9th.  The event is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m.




Dordt University To Start $90 Million Dollar Capital Campaign

(Sioux Center) — Dordt University of Sioux Center has announced a $90 million dollar capital campaign.  Referring to the capital campaign as “Planting for the Future” officials hope to secure the funds by the end of 2023.  John Baas (Boss) serves as the Vice President of Advancement with Dordt University. He calls the capital campaign as a “comprehensive campaign” and says the capital campaign will focus on three specific areas of development.

Baas offers an explanation of the Innovative Programs category.

Baas talks about the financial goals concerning the “Living In Christian Community” category.

The Dordt University Vice President says the third category involves the construction of a new indoor athletic facility that will be shared with the city of Sioux Center and Sioux Center High School.

Baas says through discussions with the university’s lead donors, the college has already been able to raise, or have pledged, nearly $70 milllon of the $90 million dollar capital campaign.

Baas says some construction has already started from the capital campaign.




Reynolds Signs Tax Cut Bill into Law

(Des Moines, IA) — Governor Kim Reynolds has signed the bill that will flatten Iowa’s personal income tax rate to three-point-nine percent by the year 2026. The new law also exempts all retirement income from state taxes — and provides new tax breaks for retired farmers and for people who retire from employee-owned companies. Reynolds says the new law will dramatically reform the tax system for the better and make Iowa one of the most competitive in the nation. Democrats say the bill gets rid of Iowa’s progressive tax system and provides a tax break to the wealthiest Iowans that will be 100 times greater than what middle income Iowans will get. Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls (like “walls”) of Coralville says the new law will overwhelmingly benefit the ultra-rich and big corporations.




Second Arrest Made in 2020 Murder

(Emmetsburg, IA) — A second man has been arrested and charged with the murder of a Washington, Iowa, man who was beaten to death nearly two years ago in northwest Iowa. Authorities arrested 22-year-old Brice Patrick Colling of Emmetsburg Monday night and charged him with FIRST degree murder in the death of 27-year-old R-J Bontrager. His body was found in Virgin Lake, which is near Ruthven, in July of 2020. Thirty-one-year-old Allan Michael Schwidder, formerly of Emmetsburg, is serving a 50-year sentence for Bontrager’s death after pleading guilty to second degree murder a year ago. In court documents, Schwidder said he and Bontrager had been fishing and got into a fight.




Business Confidence Index Hits 30-Year Low Due to War in Ukraine

(Omaha, NE) — Iowa’s economy showed clear signs of improvement during February, according to the monthly Creighton University survey, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine pushed the survey’s business confidence index to its lowest level since it began in 1994. Creighton economist Ernie Goss says the Midwest economy is “up briskly”, but business leaders are still dealing with familiar challenges, including supply disruptions. And Goss adds that with what’s going on in Ukraine “you’d have to double that.” More than one-third indicated that finding and hiring qualified workers was their biggest challenge. Also, nearly one in five respondents listed “rising input prices” as their top challenge.




Iowa Senate Votes to Allow Mobile Hair Salons

(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Senate has unanimously approved a bill designed to let licensed professionals cut hair in far more locations, including salons-on-wheels. Senator Jason Schultz, a Republican from Schleswig, says it follows the 2020 law that legalized mobile barber shops. State regulations currently require salons to be in fixed locations. The bill passed by the Senate says professional hair cutters in Iowa would no longer be restricted to cutting hair in a cosmetology school or a licensed barbershop or salon. Bill backers originally envisioned the change would let customers get their hair cut at their own homes. Last year, a law change let cosmetologists style hair in a wedding venue without getting a temporary license to do so.