Home News KLEM News for Wednesday, February 22, 2023

KLEM News for Wednesday, February 22, 2023


The property tax levy in Le Mars may remain unchanged in the next fiscal year.  The council set a public hearing for March 7 to set maximum property taxes in the new city budget.  The levy rate is proposed to remain at 11.90 per thousand, which hasn’t changed in four years.  The tax asking under the new budget is some 6.25 million dollars, 2.62% lower than the current budget.  That is due to a miscalculation by state officials on some property values.  By correcting the error, valuations for certain types of property were lowered.  Total valuations, however, increased in the past year.



The Le Mars City Council has changed the bid opening for the 24th Street SW bridge project.  Bids were to be opened last week, but the city administration requested the council move the date back a month.  The council passed a motion to reset the bid opening to March 14.  The bids will be considered by the city council on March 21.



The Le Mars city council approved a request from Wells Enterprises to allow them to build infrastructure within the right of way of 1st Street SE.  Wells is carrying out a renovation project at their North Ice Cream Plant, which requires building out into the street.  They want to place a building and two silos at the site.  When completed, this expansion will be over existing city storm and sanitary sewers.  It would require rerouting these lines.  The city has approved previous Wells projects at the plant.  The company had earlier proposed this street vacation in 2011, but it never materialized.  The council approved the request.



The Le Mars city council approved a funding pool of 83-thousand dollars for non-bargaining employee wage increases.  This item is part of the city’s budget negotiations.  The new budget currently includes a 4% increase in the fund to 73-thousand dollars.  Administration asked that the council approve the higher amount in order to provide compensation to certain comparable positions.



The Le Mars Police Department is sponsoring a community presentation on human trafficking next Monday at the Wells Visitors Center.  Assistant Chief Justin Daale says this is a followup to the city’s proclamation last month.

The presentation is titled: Trafficking – Perception vs. Reality.

On hand will be representatives of agencies which deal directly with human trafficking.

Safe Place and CAASA will make presentations. Police will also relate their experience with human trafficking.

Presentation topics include – know what to do if you are a victim, protecting our youth, and online safety.

Trafficking – Perception vs Reality will take place Monday, February 27 at 6 pm at the Wells Visitor Center and Ice Cream Parlor.  To learn more, contact the Lemars Police Department or email jdaale@lemarsiowa.com



An update on the fiber optic buildout in Plymouth County was presented to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday.  Scott Te Stroete of Premier Communications told the Supervisors that construction is complete on the Rural Le Mars and Merrill exchanges, and the eastern half of the Struble exchange.  Construction on the Brunsville exchange, and the west half of the Struble exchange will begin this spring.

Future plans for broadband in Plymouth County will come under Governor Reynolds’ Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program.  Grant funding of over 350-million dollars is available for new service.  In Iowa.  This will result in over 680 million dollars in total broadband investment under this program.

Te Stroete says this program is different, in that, instead of broadband providers or consultants submitting applications for grants, they must come from communities which seek broadband service, such as local governments, school districts, Iowa State University Extension offices, or area education agencies.

Applications for the grants will take place through the month of March



The Le Mars City Council Tuesday adopted a resolution approving an updated long-term lease for the Floyd Valley Apartments.  The lease reflects the transfer of the lease from Weinberg Investments to a non-profit, Floyd Valley Partners LP.  Lease payments under the remainder of the 99 year lease have been modified from 5-thousand dollars per year to 20-thousand dollars per year in the last 18 years of the lease.  The new landlord will soon begin a 2-million dollars renovation of the former hospital, expanding the fire sprinkler system, installing new windows, and renovating the 59 apartments in the building to include new appliances and new countertops.  A project to install a second elevator in the building will be a separate project.



A new cul-de-sac ordinance was approved by the Le Mars council yesterday.  The change inceases the maximum length of a cul-de-sac from 500 to 750 feet.  This allows better access for emergency vehicles.  Second and third reading of the ordinance was waived, and the revised ordinance was adopted.



Le Mars council passed a motion to approved the Convention and Visitors Bureau recommendations for fiscal year 2024, totaling 37-thousand dollars.  This supports the Christmas Wonderland, painting the 4H exhibit building, Ice Cream Days, the Tour de Plymouth 2024, and the Brown Family Ministry’s Tour Bus Promotions.



A large group of landowners who oppose the pipelines rallied on the Iowa Capitol steps this (Tuesday) morning.  Kim Junker and her husband farm near New Hartford.  They are unwilling to let the Navigator pipeline pass through their property.

Senator Jeff Taylor, a Republican from Sioux Center, has proposed five different bills that would limit carbon pipeline development. He spoke to rally goers.

Three companies have proposed pipelines through the Midwest to capture carbon from ethanol plants and store the material underground in North Dakota.  Two of them are planned to extend through parts of Plymouth County.



Anyone who can legally own a gun would be able to carry it, loaded with bullets, while driving on a public highway under legislation that’s cleared a House subcommittee. Current law says guns are to be unloaded while a vehicle is moving. The bill also says anyone who can legally own a gun can leave it in their locked vehicle at work, at a school, or at a community college or public university as long as it’s out of sight. A lobbyist for an Iowa business group says that would violate a business owner’s property rights to decide whether to allow firearms – even in the parking lot of the business. Bill backers say property rights should not outweigh the Second Amendment. Another gun-related bill that’s passed a House subcommittee would direct K-through-12 schools to provide lessons on gun safety.  Republican Skyler Wheeler of Hull is one of the co-sponsors of the bill.