LE MARS COUNCIL
The Le Mars City Council today set maximum property tax dollars for their 2023-24 fiscal year budget. The maximum tax revenues are some two million, 249-thousand dollars. That’s 170-thousand dollars less, due to the legislature’s correction of valuations of some properties in Iowa. The levy will remain the same at 11.90.
Councilmen passed a motion to approve a contract for the city’s storm sewer improvement project. This includes running a pipeline between Prospect St SW and 12 Street SW, into what is now an open ditch. The low base and alternate bids came from Cleveringa Excavating of Alton, at 464-thousand dollars on the base bid, and 715-thousand with the alternate. Both bids were above the estimates of 335-thousand and 605-thousand.
An animal rescue turned into a river rescue Sunday in Le Mars. Chief Dave Schipper says Fire Rescue was called to the Floyd River to rescue a stray dog and the people trying to recover it.
The incident resulted in one injury, but all were rescued.
Two people were in pursuit of a stray dog from the local pet rescue.
Sunday afternoon, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office investigated a report of a vehicle fire that occurred on Highway 60, two miles south of Hospers, IA.
18 year old Anthony Santana, of Sibley, IA, was driving southbound when he noticed smoke coming from the engine compartment of his Jeep. Santana was able to safely pull over to the side of the road, where the vehicle started on fire.
There were no injuries reported. Both lanes of Iowa Highway 60 were shut down while firemen from Hospers and Granville extinguished the fire.
NEW STATE FAIR CEO
Monday was Jeremy Parsons’ first day as the Iowa State Fair’s C-E-O and general manager. Parsons says most of the plans for the 2023 Iowa State Fair in August have been made well in advance, so he’ll start out by learning from the fair’s staff, to see what he can do to help and support them. Parsons worked as a seasonal employee at the Iowa State Fair when he was 17. Parsons, a former English teacher and coach, was in charge of fundraising for the Missouri State Fair when he was hired in 2011 to be C-E-O of the Clay County Fair in Spencer. Parsons, who is 45, is replacing Gary Slater, who retired after serving two decades as C-E-O of the Iowa State Fair.
U-I FOOTBALL SETTLEMENT
The State Appeals Board voted 2-1 Monday to approve a more than four million dollar settlement in a discrimination lawsuit brought by former University of Iowa football players. All three members of the State Appeals Board raised concerns about the management of the Iowa athletic department– but State Auditor Rob Sand was the only no vote, saying taxpayers should not have to pay part of the settlement. Sand says this is the fourth discrimination settlement during Athletic Director Gary Barta’s tenure and it’s time for him to go. The governor’s budget director Kraig Paulsen, is also on the Board and suggests legislators may have an interest in reviewing the settlement. Gary Barta released a written statement about the settlement which says the University of Iowa Athletic Department remains committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for every student-athlete and staff member involved in the program.
There will be a special election in the Hinton School District today on a new revenue purpose statement for the use of SAVE – the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education fund. It was formerly known as the Local Option Sales Tax. The revenue statement directs where the funds raised by SAVE proceeds. The new statement will direct funds to school infrastructure and property tax relief. The Iowa legislature passed, and Governor Reynolds signed, legislation to extend this one-cent sales tax through 2051. As part of the extension, school districts are required to renew their purpose statements. The election will be today, from 7 am to 8 pm, at the Hinton Community Center.
WEST SIOUX ELECTION
Voters in the West Sioux School Community School District will vote on a plan to authorize the issuance of up to 14.9 million dollars in General Obligation Bonds to build classrooms, and make improvements at elementary buildings in Ireton and Hawarden. Transitional Kindergarten through first grade is housed at Ireton Elementary, and grades 2 through 5 are at Hawarden Elementary. More classrooms would be added at both schools if the bond issue passes. A year ago, a similar bond issue proposal failed, as it missed the required 60% majority by 3 percentage points. Polls are open today from 7 am to 8 pm.
SOUTH O’BRIEN ELECTION
Residents of the South O’Brien School District will vote Tuesday, March 7 on a 25.9 million dollars bond issue. The bonds would pay for construction of several projects at the Junior/Senior High building at Paullina. This includes space for the agriculture program, a greenhouse, an industrial arts wing, an auxiliary gymnasium and a fitness center. The oldest part of the building, dating back to 1925, will be demolished and replaced with a science room and a multipurpose room. A former industrial arts building will be turned into administration offices. There would also be renovations to the weight room, locker rooms, and parking lots. An elementary school gymnasium in Primghar would be turned into a performing arts center. If passed, construction would begin in January.
The town of Doon Iowa, in Lyon County, will hold a vote on a 1.5 million dollars bond sale to build a new community center and city offices. It would replace a center built in 1940. The new building would house a gymnasium, the town’s library and offices. Some 750-thousand dollars have already been raised, and another 450-thousand dollars would have be raised beyond that.
IOWA BOND ELECTIONS
Voters in 35 Iowa counties will be casting ballots for today’s bond referendums. According to Iowans for Tax Relief, voters in five cities, 16 school districts and one community college district will decide on a range of projects financed with bonds that would be paid off with local property taxes. Hawkeye Community College is seeking approval for a 35 million dollar to plan to upgrade its campus. The Bettendorf Community School District is asking for approval of a 69 million dollar plan to upgrade athletic and music facilities for high schoolers and remodel a middle school built in the 1960s. Voters in the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale will decide whether to finance a 43 million dollar U-Plex — a recreation center that would feature pickleball and basketball courts, a walking track and a playground.
LE MARS COUNCIL
The Le Mars City Council meets at noon today in regular session. Their meeting begins with a public hearing on setting maximum property tax dollars under the new city budget. The council will also consider bids and award contract for a storm sewer improvement project between 12th Street SW and Prospect Street SW. There will also be an offer to purchase a 1.5 acre lot in the Southview Industrial Park on the agenda today.
ORANGE CITY COUNCIL
The Orange City council awarded contracts for two street construction projects this summer. One is an extension of 14th st SE to the new elementary school. Four bids were received by the council. The contract was awarded to Vander Pol Excavating. Their low bid was 1.84 million dollars, below the 2 million dollars engineer’s estimate. This project is to be completed by August 15, in time for the start of the next school year. The second contract was for construction of 18th St SW, extending into the former airport property. This will create five industrial sites. The low bid, out of five received, was fron Vander Windt and Sons of Le Mars, at 1.3 million dollars.. Their bid was below the project estimate of 1.49 million dollars. Completion date for this project is November 1.
The city council has been informed that the roundabout project along Iowa Highway 10 at St Paul will begin soon. The Iowa Department of Transportation awarded the construction contract to Hulstein Excavating of Edgerton, Minnesota. Construction is to begin in April. It’s not known what the city’s share of construction costs will be.
A resolution to accept the purchase of 3.185 million dollars in General Obligation Bonds was approved by the council. The funds raised by the sale will be used to build infrastructure around the new elementary school, and for development of Puddle Jumper Park. 2.485 million will be devoted to the road leading to the school, and 700-thousand dollars to the park. The interest rate on the bonds will be 3.75 percent.
The council also adopted an amended solid waste collection ordinance. Collection fees will increase 15 cents per customer for every one dollar increase in tonnage fees at the landfill. There will also be a one dollar administrative fee for recycling; the fee for a spring cleanup flag will increase to 15 dollars, and Christmas tree pickup will be phased out. The fees will increase on April 1 and January1, 2024. The council passed the second and third readings, and adopted the amended ordinance.