The Le Mars City Council today approved a letter of support for a grant application from Sioux City for a Siouxland Regional Trail Connection Project. The city will become a co-applicant, along with Sergeant Bluff, for the grant. Part of the Regional Trail Project will apply to the PlyWood Trail, which will extend from Le Mars to Sioux City. Destination Iowa has 40 million dollars available to applicants or expansion of recreation trails in Iowa. They favor a regional approach when considering applicants.
The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing later this month on an amendment to the county budget for fiscal year 2021-22. The amendment would add revenue from District Court Jail fees to the General Fund, totaling 13-thousand dollars. The funds would be disbursed through General Assistance and Administration. The public hearing on the budget amendment will take place during the regular Board of Supervisors meeting on May 24.
The Board of Supervisors also approved completing a survey for the U.S. Department of Agriculture concerning a proposed tower site in Craig for Southern Sioux County Rural Water. The system has applied for a U.S.D.A. Rural Development loan for the project.
Numbers from state climatologist Justin Glisan confirm spring jackets weren’t always the best option in April.
The state climatologist says he also got a lot of comments about how windy the days were in the just completed month.
Those wind conditions help create some stormy weather throughout April. Glisan says the positive from the storms is they brought more precipitation with them.
The statewide average for precipitation was three-point-two inches. Glisan says the early projections are for May to remain cool and damp.
CHILD CARE BILL
Republican legislators have approved a bill that would let Iowa childcare providers ask parents who get state money to cover childcare fees to add onto that with their own money. Under the bill, parents in Iowa’s childcare assistance program could agree to pay the difference between the state subsidy and what would typically be charged to parents who do not get government assistance for childcare. Republican Senator Mark Lofgren says the bill is a recommendation from the governor’s childcare task force, that “allows families to work with childcare providers to negotiate rates.” Democrats like Senator Sarah Trone Garriott say it makes no sense, since Iowa parents who qualify for childcare assistance live at or near the poverty level and “don’t have an extra dollar, let alone an extra 100 dollars a week per child to make up the difference.” House Republicans passed the bill in early March, and it cleared the Senate Monday.
A monthly survey of supply managers and business leaders in Iowa and eight other states finds the economies in Iowa — and the Midwest — slowed during April. This is survey author, Creighton University economist Ernie Goss.
Goss says employment was solid for April and slightly better than March.
The prices consumers are paying for most goods remain high and the survey results indicate things likely won’t be improving anytime soon.
In the months ahead, Goss expects short-term interest rates to rise by another half percent and long-term interest rates to rise by another percentage point.
The survey shows Iowa’s Business Conditions Index for April sank to 69.8 from 75.6 in March, again on a zero-to-100 scale. For the nine-state region, the overall index showed a “still healthy” 65.9 for April, down from March’s “very strong” rating of 71.3.
Former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is critical of the US Chamber of Commerce, so he’s forming a competing organization. Brandstad issued a news release announcing “The American Free Enterprise Chamber of Commerce, and he will be its chairman. Branstad says America’s business owners and entrepreneurs haven’t been well-represented in Washington. The group’s CEO will be Gentry Collins. He ran George W Bush’s campaign in Iowa, and has served as the political director for the Republican National Committee and the Republican Governor’s Association. Branstad is critical of US Chamber of Commerce endorsements of some Democratic candidates in the last presidential campaign.