LE MARS AUDITOR
There will be a new firm conducting the city of Le Mars’ annual audit. The city council yesterday approved a three year agreement with Bergan KDV, Ltd, at a cost of nearly 118-thousand dollars. Bergan was one of three auditors contacted by the city for an audit proposal, and had the lowest cost. Williams and Company has carried out the city audit for a number of years, but at the last minute said they would not submit a proposal, because of insufficient staffing to complete the audit.
It’s a routine action taken by the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors each year, but it reveals some of the funding streams within the various county government departments. The Supervisors passed their budget appropriations resolution for the next fiscal year. This releases funds for the new budget to the appropriate departments. Their statement includes funding under the General Basic fund, for conservation and local options sales tax receipts, for Veterans Affairs grants; for proceeds from the Ethanol and Wind Urban Renewal areas; insurance payments, and funds from the America Recovery Act. The Rural Services Fund includes Inmate Room and Board Reimbursement to the county Sheriff; court fine collection to the County Attorney, and Conservation Land acquisition. The Plymouth County 2023-24 budget totals 34.7 million dollars. 11 million dollars is for General Basic and Rural Services. The secondary Road budget is 16.2 million dollars.
LEWIS AND CLARK CELEBRATION
Two communities celebrated the flow of thousands of gallons of high-quality water from the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System piped into their communities. Sioux Center and Hull had been waiting for more than 30 years for their hook ups that came one month ago. They celebrated Tuesday with a ribbon cuttings, where Lewis & Clark Executive Director Troy Larson talked about getting the project to this point.
Larson says adding Lewis & Clark water, which comes from the Missouri River and an aquifer will be transformational for the communities of Sioux Center and Hull. Sioux Center will receive 600-thousand gallons each day, while Hull pumps in 400-thousand gallons a day to blend with their current water supply. There were originally 59 communities which signed up for the project in 1993 — but the latest two make the total hooked up at 20.
Larson says the project is working on expanding the system from producing 40 million gallons per day to 60 million gallons by 2031. Congressman Randy Feenstra, grew up in Hull, and served on the Lewis & Clark board for seven-and-a-half years. He recalled the condition of the water in his home town was so bad they gave visitors a warning.
Feenstra also recalls the meeting when funding plans were made known
Feenstra commends all those involved in connecting the 377 miles of pipe that was laid and the additional infrastructure. The remaining communities to be connected to the service include Sheldon, which should connect to the system late this year or early next year; Madison, South Dakota should connect in the middle of 2024; and Sibley should connect in late 2024 or early 2025.
Trial will take place this summer for the former police chief of Kingsley, after a plea agreement could not be reached between prosecutors and the defendant. James Dunn will stand trial July 11th in Plymouth County District Court, on 19 charges, including unauthorized use of law enforcement data bases, stalking with a dangerous weapon, and misconduct. 9 of the counts are felonies, the rest are serious and aggravated misdemeanors. Dunn is accused of using official databases to stalk a former girlfriend, and gather information on her current boyfriend and his roommate. Yesterday, a plea hearing was scheduled, but was cancelled after the court was informed a plea agreement could not be reached. Dunn has resigned as police chief of Kingsley after he was arrested and placed on administrative leave.
HOME BASE IOWA
The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors were urged to join the Home Base Iowa program. Jathan Chicoine Home Base Iowa Program Manager, described HBI as a statewide program for veterans. It connects veterans and their family members with resources and opportunities in Iowa. Chicoine says most of Iowa’s counties are part of the program. A list of participants on the groups website indicates that Plymouth and Ida are the only two northwest Iowa counties which are not part of Home Base Iowa. Chicoine says the Supervisors can pass a resolution of support for the program, but he also suggests they develop a team which can help create incentives for veterans which can help the county earn the Home Base Iowa designation. The board expressed their verbal support, and will consider other action later.
BUILDING PERMIT RULES
The Le Mars city council has adopted an amendment to the city ordinance concerning building construction regulations. Third reading was given to an amendment which outlines when building permits are required for new construction, additions, and modifications. These were not specified in the ordinance to date.
LE MARS BUSINESS SALE
A Le Mars man is selling part of his business, in order to concentrate on another. Scott Pageler announced Tuesday that his Hardware Hank business downtown has been sold to the Kopetsky family of Yankton South Dakota, and the King family of Orange City. Both operate Ace Hardware Stores in those communities.
Pageler says he didn’t expect to sell the business so quickly.
Pageler says community involvement was a big factor in making transaction. There will be a gradual transition of merchandise as the new owners move in. Last year, Pageler won a Vision Iowa contest for his idea to create a mobile flooring showroom. That should be ready soon.
BIKE SAFETY RODEO
The annual Bike Safety Rodeo will take place tomorrow at the YMCA parking lot. Children are urged to bring their bicycles, and take part in activities to promote bike safety. There will be skills courses, helmet fittings, and bike inspections. Kids can also register their bikes with the police department. There will also be food and giveaways. The bike rodeo will be at the YMCA parking lot tomorrow from 5:30 to 7 pm. The event is sponsored by the Le Mars Rotary Club, Plymouth County Cyclists, Le Mars Police, and the YMCA.