LE MARS COUNCIL
The Le Mars city council today decided to take the task of Community Development under direct authority of the city. Currently, Community and Economic Development is part of a combined Chamber of Commerce and Le Mars Business Initiative Corporation. This will also place direct city authority over code enforcement in Le Mars.
The city council also adopted a resolution which authorizes reporting of the receipt and use of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The city will receive just over 1.5 million dollars for losses due to COVID restrictions. Half of the funds are already in hand. No projects will be designated for ARPA funds until all of the funding is received. That is expected to be received in August of this year.
The council hired an engineering firm to oversee repairs on the 24th street bridge. The structure was damaged in a fire earlier this year. A decision on the agreement was tabled at the last council meeting. The decision came after a discussion with a representative of the engineering firm, Schemmer and Associates.
An Engineering firm was also hired to oversee construction of a force main from the Wells North Ice Cream Plant. This plan would divert was from the ice cream plant to the city’s industrial treatment plant. Currently, waste from the North Ice Cream Plant goes to the Municipal Treatment plant. Segregating the waste will reduce waste volume in the Municipal plant by 31%.
The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors approved a letter to the Iowa Utilities Board, protesting the proposed route of the Summit Carbon Solution pipeline around the community of Merrill.
The board says the current, circular route, around the west and north limits of Merrill, is detrimental to the community’s development.
The Supervisors propose an alternate route generally east of US Highway 75 and the railroad line in that area.
The Utilities Board is considering aproval of carbon capture pipelines extending across Iowa, including Plymouth County.
The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors today learned about a proposal to replace the armored vehicle used by the Combined Emergency Response Team.
Chief Deputy Rick Singer explained to the Supervisors that the current vehicle, a 1979 model,is called a Peacekeeper. Singer says it was acquired Le Mars police in 1998, but they will no longer make major repairs on it.
Le Mars Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte says it is at the end of its life.
In its place, Singer proposed to the board that it be replaced by a vehicle called a Bearcat. It is designed for law enfrocement agencies, and would be used by the Combined Emergency Response Team, which includes the Plymouth, Sioux, and Cherokee Sheriffs Departments, and the Le Mars Police Department.
The cost of this vehicle is 227-thousand dollars.
Chief Deputy Singer said it would be best if the Plymouth County Sheriffs Department owns the vehicle, which would be most efficient for liability, licensing, and maintenance.
The Supervisors will consider funding for the Bearcat at a later meeting.
ORANGE CITY STREETS
Orange City is running out of street names.
City Manager Earl Woudstra says the current method for naming streets is nearing its end.
So the council asked the Orange City community for ideas on naming a new residential development surrounding the new elementary school that is now under construction.
The proximity of the development reflects the proximity of the Dutch Province named.
Streets inside the development will reflect city names in the Dutch province of Gelderland.
The idea of naming streets after Dutch cities or developments could be expanded in the future.
Orange City is also running out of real estate to the east. The property containing the elementary school and residential developments abuts the west boundary of the city of Alton.
NO BUDGET AGREEMENT
This is the 15th week of the 2022 Iowa legislative session, but there’s no agreement yet among majority Republicans on the bills outlining the state budget for the fiscal year that starts in 74 days. Republicans in the House have sent the Senate all the bills outlining their budget plans. Jack Whitver of Ankeny, the Republican leader in the SENATE, hasn’t brought any of them up for a vote. He says they are not interested in an additional 70 million dollars in the budget. Whitver says Republicans in the Senate have developed their own budget plans for state operations that use the governor’s spending target as a guide.
During House debate over the past few weeks, minority Democrats have been arguing that with a BILLION dollar budget surplus, more money should be spent to address specific problems, like prison staffing and water quality. Representative Brian Meyer is a Democrat from Des Moines.
Two of Republican Governor Kim Reynolds’ top policy proposals are stalled alongside budget negotiations. Republicans in the SENATE have passed the governor’s plan to provide parents state money to cover private and parochial school expenses, while Republicans in the HOUSE have yet to bring it up for a vote. Republicans in the House AND the Senate have passed the governor’s proposal to reduce the maximum amount of unemployment benefits from 26 to 16 weeks, but her recommendation that there be a one-week waiting period before benefits are paid was only included in the SENATE’S bill. This is the 100th day of the Legislature – the last day for which legislators will receive pay for daily expenses. This is usually a prod for lawmakers to quickly come to agreement and adjourn the session.
A leading Republican negotiator says there are “a lot of details to be worked out” concerning the governor’s proposed E-15 mandate. State Senator Dan Dawson of Council Bluffs says no one is against ethanol but it’s important to hear from all the stakeholders. Governor Kim Reynolds first proposed a Renewable Fuels Standard last year and it has won bipartisan approval in the Iowa House. Dawson says lawmakers want to make sure they “get this done right.”
It’s a rare event when someone gets a perfect score on a college entrance exam. But that rarity has happened in the Iowa town of Ankeny, where junior Sydney Madetzke (muh-DEHT-skee) scored a 36, the highest score possible, on her A-C-T test. She told K-C-C-I/T-V she received her test score and opened it while she was in French class, and that she became so excited that she was “almost hyperventilating.” Madetzke doesn’t know yet where she’ll go to college, but she plans to major in chemical engineering. The odds of earning a top entrance exam score — less than one-half of one percent.