SEWER RATE INCREASE
First reading of an amended ordinance which increases sewer rates in LeMars was approved by the city council Tuesday. This amendment increases sewer rates 10% for all levels of use, from residential to industrial. Under the increase, the typical residential sewer rate will increase 85 cents to $9.36 per month. Industrial customers will be levied a surcharge based on the solids discharged into the system, in addition to the increased rate. The increase is proposed because of a budget shortfall due to inflation, and increased maintenance and debt service costs. Three readings are required before adoption of the rate increase. Once approved, it will take effect July 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year.
Amendments to the Le Mars Code concerning the Public Library Board was approved to first readhing Tuesday. The amendments were brought forward because of inconsistency’s with the city’s rules and the State of Iowa Code. Three sections of the code are being modified by this amendment. One sets seven members of the Le Mars Library Board, six from the city and one rural. They are to be appointed by the major, exceupt for the rural members, which shall be appointed jointly by the mayor and the Board of Supervisors. Another section sets terms of office for board appointees at six years, except to fill vacancies. The third section would be amended to explain when the Board’s annual report to the city council is to be submitted. Three readings are required before the amendments are adopted.
HOME BASE IOWA
The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors has passed a resolution in support of Home Base Iowa. This is a program through Iowa Workforce Development which encourages counties to create incentives to attract veterans to live and work in Iowa. The resolution was amended, in that a section committing the county to creating incentives for veterans was struck, at the advice of the county attorney. The Supervisors support veterans, but the program is intended to involve communities in Plymouth County to create these incentives. The Supervisors unanimously supported the resolution.
EMERGENCY HOUSING COORDINATORS
A recent statewide report found the number of people in the Spencer area who were homeless more than doubled between 2019 and 2021. Clay County and the City of Spencer are launching an emergency housing program. Rebecca Goeken is the General Relief director for Clay County.
Data released recently by the Institute for Community Alliances found fewer than 50 people in Clay County were homeless in 2019, but two years later, more than 100 people in the area were homeless. Goeken says the plan is to hire two part-time people who would be emergency housing coordinators.
Goeken says the county’s emergency coordinators will help set up a plan to find housing for homeless individuals or a job, if needed.
According to federal data, about 24-hundred people in Iowa experienced homelessness at some point last year — and only 16 percent of them were chronically homeless.
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says she wants to increase the oversight authority of the Department of Defense as a way to stem the flow of fentanyl at its source in Mexico. The Republican from Red Oak says the Disrupt Fentanyl Trafficking Act of 2023 has bipartisan support. and would classify fentanyl trafficking as a national security threat to the United States to provide a response proportional to the problems.
Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a bill into law that significantly increases the criminal penalties for making or selling illegal drugs laced with fentanyl. The bill Reynolds approved doubles the penalty for making and selling illegal drugs. Those caught with 50 grams of fentanyl could be sentenced to 50 years in an Iowa prison. Penalties are also enhanced for selling illegal drugs to a minor or providing drugs that lead to an overdose or death.
WATER PLANT PROJECT
The city council of Le Mars today contracted an engineering firm to create a final design for a new Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant Project. Michael Washburn is the team leader for McClure Engineering. He presented a report to the city council .
He describes the benefits of this new water plant for the community.
Washburn explains reverse osmosis on this scale.
He described the study, which is required by the Iowa DNR.
The city plans a 23 million dollars project to build a new water treatment plant, using parts of the current plant. The council approved an engineering services agreement with McClure Engineering to develop a final design of the plant, with their fee not to exceed 1.6 million dollars. Construction on the plant could begin in 2024, and be completed in 2026.
CLASS C ROADS
A new classification of roadway was approved in Plymouth County today. The Board of Supervisors established an ordinance creating the Area Service “C” Road Classification in Plymouth County. These are minimum service roads, which will allow only limited access. After establishing the ordinance, the Supervisors approved a resolution which designates a section of 310th Street in Perry Township a class “C” road. There will be no maintenance of the road, and access will be limited to the owner or lessee, law enforcement, magistrate, public employee or utility employees. Signage warning of the Class C status will be posted.
Monday was the final meeting for an Orange City councilman, who is stepping down at the end of this month. Aaron Beadner has served on the council for three years. The council has passed a motion to fill the vacancy created by Beadner’s resignation by appointment for temporary service on the council until the November city election. The appointment of a replacement will take place at the June 19 council meeting.