The city of Le Mars will provide tax incentives for an apartment project in the Le Mars Business Park, First Addition. Morrow Lin Properties LLC proposes the construction of a 12-unit apartment building on property at the corner of Holton Drive and Airport Avenue. Their capital investment in the project is 1.3 million dollars. The developers have asked the city to help them apply for incentives from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. As part of the application process, the city is required to match the incentive provided by the IEDA. This is a 100% tax exemption for the first seven years after the project is completed, totaling 142-thousand dollars. The council passed a motion approving the application and the tax exemption.
A public hearing has been set for April 4 on the Le Mars city budget for 2023-24. The new budget estimates total revenues at 24.4 million dollars, and expenditures of 25.4 million dollars. The Floyd Valley Healthcare budget of 59.5 million dollars was included in the budget. The levy rate in the next fiscal year is 11 dollar, 90 cents per thousand.
The council also set a second public hearing for April 4. This one will consider an amendment to the city’s construction regulations. This amendment specifies when a building permit is required for new construction, building additions, and a remodel which changes a building’s use; and how permit fees are set. When a permit is required is not in the current ordinance.
Agriculture week was celebrated in Le Mars Wednesday, with a coffee and luncheon at the Le Mars Convention Center. Speaking to attendees was Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig.
Naig described the unique nature of agriculture in Iowa.
Naig is taking a wait and see approach to avian influenza outbreaks this year.
He says he’s not sure if its going to be a problem this year.
But he says producers need to keep their guard up for potential outbreaks.
Naig spoke on Ag Day in Le Mars Wednesday. He touched on several topics, including trade. He recently he traveled to Japan and South Korea, to reconnect with a couple of the US’s biggest trade partners. He will soon visit Vietnam and southeast Asia to gauge the potential of increased trade there.
The Iowa Department of Transportation and Triple-A Iowa are working together to highlight the need for drivers to improve their habits to cut traffic fatalities. The D-O-T’s Andrea Henry says part of the effort is their “What Drives You?” campaign — where they ask drivers to think about the people they are driving home to every night. She says the campaign focuses on buckling up, slowing down and making sure that you’re driving chill, which means that you’re not speeding or driving aggressively. Triple-A has focused on the “Slow Down, Move Over” laws in Iowa across the country. Henry says that law is also something the D-O-T wants to remind drivers about that when you see an emergency vehicle, or just a motorist who is stranded on the side of the road with flashing lights, you should move over if you can. Henry says if you cannot move over, then you should slow down to a safe speed to allow you to get around those vehicles safely.
LE MARS HEARINGS
There were two hearings before the Le Mars city council this week. One approved an amendment to the city’s Highway 75 Bypass Urban Renewal Area. This reflects projects taking place in the are to improve or extend infrastructure. This also include consultation with the Le Mars Community Schools and the Sioux County Supervisors, as both of those entities are affected by these projects.
A second hearing was held to authorize the sale of land in a future lot in the Southview Industrial Park. The council accepted a bid of 136-thousansd dollars from investors who intend to locate a pet care business at the site. The parcel in question was platted, but the rest of the Southview Industrial Park has not.
IOWA HOUSE PASSES PIPELINE BILL
The Iowa House has approved a carbon pipeline bill which requires at least 90 percent of the miles along a proposed route be voluntarily secured before eminent domain authority can be imposed to seize the rest.
The bill also allows farmers to seek compensation years later, if crop yields are lower in the area around a carbon pipeline.
The vote was 73-20 in favor, with no party preference among the yes and no votes.
The bill’s lead sponsor, Representative Steve Holt of Denison, says the pipeline opponents are “freedom fighters”.
Summit Carbon Solutions released a statement saying the carbon capture projects will play a critical role in ensuring the long term viability of the ethanol industry, and the future of the Iowa economy.
The bill now goes to the state Senate, where it earlier failed to clear a funnel deadline in that chamber.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is applauding President Joe Biden’s signing of legislation this week that orders federal intelligence officials to declassify information on the origins of COVID-19.
Grassley, a Republican, hesitated to say if we’ll ever know the full story of how the pandemic began, but he says this is a big move forward in determining any possible links to China.
Grassley notes that this is so-called Sunshine Week, when we honor the principle of bringing secretive government actions out into the open.
Grassley says he voted for the bill, which passed both chambers of Congress unanimously.
BILL BANS CEL PHONE USE WHILE DRIVING
The Iowa Senate approved a bill which makes it illegal for all drivers to use a hand-held smart phone while a vehicle is in motion.
If the bill becomes law, the penalty for violating the law is a 100-dollars fine. Higher fines and license suspension could occur if a smart phone distraction leads to an accident causing serious injury.
The bill was passed on a 47 to 3 vote, and now goes to the House for debate. Current Iowa law prohibits texting while driving.
24 other states prohibit hand-held phone use in a moving vehicle.
BILL BANS TRANSGENDER TREATMENTS
A bill was signed yesterday by Governor Kim Reynolds. It bars Iowa doctors from starting gender transition treatments for minors.
The bill takes effect immediately. It prohibits prescribing puberty blockers and gender transition surgery for anyone under the age of 18.
The governor told reporters she believes the science isn’t there to support gender transitions for kids.
Minors who have already started gender transition treatments have 180 days to end them in Iowa. Minnesota’s governor issued an executive order indicating Iowa doctors could refer minors in the midst of treatment to Minnesota.
Governor Reynolds also signed another bill that requires transgender students in Iowa K through 12 schools to use the bathroom or locker room that matches the gender on their birth certificate. This bill also take affect immediately.
Parents may ask a school to let their transgender child use a single-occupancy bathroom or facilities used by staff only.