WINTER STORM WARNING
The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Plymouth, Sioux, O’Brien, Cherokee, and Union counties. This is in effect from noon Wednesday to noon Thursday. Heavy snow and blowing snow are expected. Total snow accumulations of 5 to 8 inches are forecast. Winds will gust up to 45 miles per hour. Travel will be very difficult. Strong winds will significantly reduce visibilities. Wind chills as low as 25 below zero are expected. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.
PLYMOUTH COUNTY SUPERVISORS
The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors this morning passed a resolution of necessity to expand the Hinton Drainage District boundary. This expansion would bring the total parcels within the new boundary to 714, compared to the previous 490. A project to replace a bridge within the HInton city limits with a culvert was bid last week. Those costs will be shared by parcel owners in the drainage district, covering the city of Hinton and parts of Plymouth County that are parceled within the district.
The Supervisors also gave approval to a resolution which commits funds to a road resurfacing project in the county. Under this county/federal project, 7 miles of K22, from HIghway 3 north to the Plymouth/Sioux County line would be repaved, taking place in fiscal year 2027, 2/3 of the estimated 2.8 million dollars cost would be borne by the federal government, and 1/3 – some 980-thousand, would be covered by Plymouth County.
The Supervisors set a public hearing for an amendment to the current county budget. This amendment would reflect an additional 487-thousand dollars in revenues, mostly investment income and opioid settlement funds. There’s also 1.1 million dollars in additional expenditures, mostly urban renewal funds used for road and transportation projects, and 224,thousand dollars in administration fees. A public hearing on the budget amendment will take place March 14,.
LE MARS COUNCIL
Le Mars City Council meets in regular session at noon today. Their meeting will begin with a public hearing on an amended Cul-de-Sac Ordinance, and a discussion over a request to update the land lease for the Floyd Valley Apartments. Action items today include funding recommendations from the Convention and Visitors Bureau. The council will set a public hearing to determine maximum property tax dollars in the new budget. The council will also hear a request from Wells Enterprises to build private infrastructure in a public right of way.
ORANGE CITY COUNCIL
The Orange City Council passed a resolution to issue 3.28 million dollars in loan notes, and to levy a tax on the notes, in order to build infrastructure near the new elementary school, and to build the Puddle Jumper Park. A public hearing on the sale of the notes will take place March 6, with a final hearing March 20.
The council approved an easement along St Paul Ave NE, so that MidAmerican Energy can make improvements to their distribution system along the street. Some overhead power lines will be buried in the right of way. The easement is between the right of way line and the recreation trail along the west side of St Paul.
After a public hearing, the Council passed a resolution approving property taxes under the city’s new budget. The new total property tax levy for 2023-24 is 2.09 million dollars, down 1.66% from 2.126 million in 2022-23. The levy is 8.57 cents per thousand, down from 8.98 cents per thousand in the current budget.
A public hearing was held on the adoption of plans, specifications, and cost estimate for Orange City’s water well project. The city council awarded a contract for the work. Only one firm, Sargent Drilling of Geneva, Nebraska, offered a bid – for 1-million, 79-thousand dollars. That’s 30%, or 200-thousand dollars, over the project estimate. The consulting engineer on the project recommended the council approve the bid, because there are few contractors available for this work, and there is increasing demand for well drilling services. In order to hold down costs, two alternate bids were rejected, but remain in the project and could be added later.
SUMMIT PIPELINE PERMIT
The Iowa Utilities Board has issued a schedule for the permit application process for Summit Carbon Solutions proposed carbon dioxide pipeline. The I-U-B order says it will hold a technical conference on March 15th at 10 a-m to discuss logistics for the hearing and to help those who want to file opposition or support of the pipeline. The conference will discuss the schedule and provide information about how the I-U-B envisions the hearing will be conducted. Specific dates for the hearing will be determined at the technical conference. Summit is proposing approximately 687 miles of pipeline in Iowa. For more information on the technical conference, go to iub.iowa.gov.
One of Governor Kim Reynolds’ priorities for the 2023 Iowa legislature remains under review – a plan to streamline state government. Reynolds says Iowa is way out of line with surrounding states.
Reynolds has submitted a bill that’s nearly 16-hundred pages long to outline her plan to shrink the number of state agencies from 37 to 16. Critics of some of the proposals in the bill say Reynolds is trying to centralize more power in the governor’s office.
Reynolds says no staff will be laid off if her plan to approved as is, but more than 500 full time positions in state government that aren’t currently filled would be eliminated — saving about 200 million dollars over the next four years. Lawmakers have begun holding subcommittee hearings on sections of the plan. One area that’s being scrutinized would make it clear in state law that the attorney general may file criminal charges on behalf of the state even if a county attorney does not ask the attorney general’s office to pursue the case. Kelly Meyers, a lobbyist for the Iowa County Attorneys Association, says the group is asking for that passage to be removed from the bill.
It was the policy of long time Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller to provide state lawyers to prosecute criminal cases when county attorneys made a request and the county attorneys association says that policy should remain intact. Republican Brenna Bird defeated Miller. She has said one of her priorities as Iowa attorney general is to hire more prosecutors.