RECREATION TRAILS FUNDING
The city of Le Mars will submit an application for the next phase of construction on the PlyWood Trail. This is Phase 1B of the project, which extends from the south end of Le Mars to the north end of Phase 1A, which is the West Branch of the Floyd River. The application will be submitted to the Iowa Department of Transportation, for funding through the state’s Recreational Trails Program. The city will request 300-thousand dollars, with a 25% minimal match. The total estimated cost of Phase 1B is nearly 1.7 million dollars. The PlyWood Trail will connect Le Mars to Sioux City and Sgt Bluff.
Two construction projects will be the subjects of public hearings next month before the Le Mars City Council. One involves replacing damaged concrete at the intersection of Hawkeye Avewnue and 12th Street, SW. Parts of the intersection are cracking and failing. The estimate for the repairs is nearly 170-thousand dollars. A public hearing will take place July 5 for approval of the plans for the project.
The council will also consider setting a public hearing for installation of an ultraviolet disinfection system at the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The system, including the buildings to house it, have an estimated cost of 4.8 million dollars. The ultraviolet treatment is needed to meet standards set in the plant’s latest permit. A hearing on that project is also proposed for July 5.
VACANT BUILDING ORDINANCE
A public hearing will take place next month on a revised vacant building ordinance in Le Mars. Two weeks ago, the council did not pass a motion to approve first reading of the ordinance, for lack of a second. Tuesday, a version was brought back to the council with several changes. One of those changes was to set specific fees for inspecting vacant buildings. This ordinance requires owners of vacant buildings in Le Mars’ historic downtown district to obtain a permit. The permit process would allow the city to inspect these buildings, and make sure they are properly maintained. A public hearing on the ordinance will take place during the city council’s July 5 meeting.
The Plymouth County Road Department has closed a road near Kingsley in order to make bridge repairs. Roosevelt Ave, from 300th St south to 310th, will be closed in order to carry out bridge repairs . The road wil be closed until next Tuesday.
The City Council of Orange City this week authorized additional action on a loan and issuance of notes on a major water infrastructure project. The city plans to issue up to 12.9 million dollars in Water Revenue Capital Loan Notes. This would raise the necessary funds for drilling a new deep water well southwest of Orange City, and distribution lines to pipe the water back to the city treatment plant. The city has hired a bond attorney to move forward with the financing mechanism for this plan.
NORTHWEST IOWA UNEMPLOYMENT
While Iowa’s unemployment rate is below 3 percent, most of northwest Iowa’s counties have rates below 2 percent. Iowa Workforce Development’s monthly report shows that in May, Plymouth County’s unemployment rate was 1.6 percent. Woodbury County was at 2.2, Ida 1.5, Cherokee 1.9, O’Brien 1.6 and Sioux at 1.3 percent, the lowest in the state. Only 10 counties had rates at or above the statewide rate of 2.7 percent. The highest unemployment rate was in Marshall County at 4.2%. A year ago, Plymouth County’s unemployment rate was double that of May, at 3.2%.
BEST RUN CITY
A new report shows Lincoln is one of the best-run cities in America. According to WalletHub, Lincoln is the sixth-best run city in the U.S., ranking 19th in total budget per capita and eleventh in quality of city services. WalletHub compared 150 of the country’s largest cities using nearly 40 key metrics for its rankings. WalletHub says the best-run city is Nampa, Idaho and the worst-run city is Washington, DC.
LAW OFFICERS HONORED
The Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau recently honored Plymouth County Sheriffs Deputy JC Vander Berg and Le Mars Police Officer Bob Rohmiller for their contributions to public safety. Rohmiller is certified in drug detection in suspects.
Rohmiller was honored for a high percentage of detecting drug impaired drivers.
He says the reward in his work is public safety.
Sheriff Jeff Te Brink says Deputy Vander Berg was recognized for for her commitment to traffic safety.
Sheriff Te Brink describes what makes Vander Berg stand out.
Deputies, including Vander Berg, have a lot of ground to cover in Plymouth County. Not all the impaired drivers are on the major routes.
For all of last year, Vander Berg issued 359 traffic citations or warnings.
As gas prices and inflation bound into record territory, Iowa U-S Senator Chuck Grassley is co-sponsoring a bill he says will provide relief and protections for our savings accounts. Grassley, a Republican, says the Middle-Class Savings and Investment Act would help lower- and middle-income Americans save as inflation outpaces any interest they might earn through targeted tax relief.
Grassley says many people are watching their savings erode while facing taxes on gains that may not be keeping pace with inflation. That creates what he calls “a perverse incentive to spend now” instead of saving, which further fuels inflation.
Grassley says the legislation will ensure that those who are hurting the most from inflation aren’t further burdened by taxes.
Grassley says key elements of the bill include: Excluding a reasonable amount of interest income from being subject to tax; more than doubling the size of the zero percent tax bracket for long-term capital gains and qualified dividends; eliminating the marriage penalty which subjects some income to an additional 3.8 percent tax, and indexing its income threshold to inflation; increasing the maximum “savers credit” anyone can get for contributing to qualified retirement accounts and expanding the availability of that credit to more taxpayers.
ATTORNEY GENERAL REMOVED
Jason Ravnsborg is out as South Dakota’s attorney general. The state Senate convicted Ravnsborg yesterday on two Articles of Impeachment drafted by the state House earlier this year. The charges accused the 46-year-old Republican of lying to law enforcement and abusing his office following a 2020 crash that killed a pedestrian. This was the first impeachment trial in the state’s history. Ravnsborg is also barred from holding public office in South Dakota.
GIANT STEER STATUE
A chance to own a piece of Omaha history. The owner of the recently closed Anthony’s Steakhouse is auctioning off the giant steer statue that’s sat atop the restaurant since the 1960’s. The Omaha World Herald reports the owner plans to give all the money from the auction to the non-profit Scare Away Cancer. The auction is open until next Monday online at backes-dash-auction-dot-com.