The city of Le Mars will apply for a tax incentive that will benefit a multi-family housing project in the Prairie View Addition. Vision Builders is planning on construction of a townhouse building and offer these units for sale, and a 12 unit apartment building, and offer these units for rent. The council approved a resolution to file an application for the Workforce Housing Tax Incentive Program through the Iowa Ecoomic Development Authority. The terms of the application require the city provide matching incentives, which the city has already provided through an earlier agreement. The local match is some 123-thousand dollars. Vision Builder;’s investment in the project is estimated at 2.8 million dollars.
CLASS C ORDINANCE
The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on July 8 to consider adoption of an ordinance creating Class C roads in the county. Class C roads are designated for minimum maintenance and restricted access. The ordinance says these roads will be established only by action of the Board of Supervsors. Access will be limited to adjacent landowners, county officials, and utility companies. These roads will be restricted by a gate, cable or chain, with padlocks owned by the affected landowners.The Supervisors have already designated a portion of 310th Street in Perry Township as a Class C road.
NEW RENTAL CAR LAW
A new state law will let rental car companies charge a security deposit for vehicle rentals in Iowa, starting in July. New York and Iowa have been the only two states to make it illegal for rental car companies to place a security deposit or temporary authorization on a credit card. It’s typically about 200 dollars, plus the cost of the rental. Representative Gary Mohr is from Bettendorf, where one rental car company has its regional office.
Mohr says on average, three or four rental cars get stolen in Iowa every month, plus 30 percent of ALL car rentals in Iowa have some sort of excess charges when they’re returned that were not initially authorized, like extra days or weeks, toll road charges or an empty gas tank. The bill authorizing rental deposits for Iowa car rentals passed the House and Senate unanimously and was signed into law by Governor Reynolds last week. Once a vehicle is returned to the rental car agency, it typically takes a couple of weeks to get a security deposit hold lifted from your credit car if there are no excess charges.’
NURSING HOME INCENTIVES
A new law requires the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services to come up with a formula to raise the Medicaid reimbursement rate for Iowa nursing homes that accept registered sex offenders. The higher reimbursement would only be available to nursing homes that establish a separate unit for sex offenders. Six years ago lawmakers discussed whether the state should establish a facility to care for geriatric patients who are convicted sex offenders or are sexually aggressive. Hundreds of the nearly 66-hundred people listed on the state’s sex offender registry need skilled nursing care. And some of those who’ve been committed to the state unit for sexually violent offenders are in declining health or have been diagnosed with dementia and need to be transferred to a nursing home.
LE MARS ORDINANCES
The Le Mars city council approved second reading of an amended sewer rate ordinance. The ordinance increases sewer rates by 10% for all classes of use. Under this amendment, monthly residential charges will increase from 8.51 to 9.36. One more reading is required before the measure is adopted. The funds raised by the rate increase will cover a budget shortfall.
The council also waived third reading and adopted an ordinance which amends rules for the Board of Trustees of the Le Mars Public Library. The rules, which set board terms, board makeup, and reporting to the city council, will take effect when published.
SIOUX CITY FIRE-RESCUE RETURN
Thirteen members of Sioux City’s Fire Rescue who serve in Iowa Taks Force One returned home from Davenport, Iowa, Tuesday afternoon. The special unit had been activated by Iowa Homeland Security on June 1st to assist Davenport agencies in searching for victims who were unaccounted for in the collapse of an apartment building in that city. Lt. Joe Rodriquez serves in the unit, which also had members deployed from Cedar Rapids.
Task Force One brought a full cache of rescue equipment with them and worked in 12 hour shifts around the clock, with half of the personnel starting from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Rodriquez says the Cedar Rapids group had arrived a day earlier and stabilized the buidling so it was safe to search for the remaining victims in the debris-filled basement.
Rodriquez says the Task Force One wanted to bring closure to the families of the three missing victims and ensure nobody else was unaccounted for.
He says Task Force One trains year round for emergency situations, and has a variety of specialized personnel serving on it.
Rodriquez says the Task Force One members accomplished their mission in Davenport and the Sioux City and Cedar Rapids members worked seamlessly together in their search effort.
DROUGHT CONDITIONS WORSEN
After a few weeks of modest improvements, drought conditions are again worsening in many parts of Iowa as the hottest, driest season of summer is about to begin. Despite a few recent rain showers that soaked some areas of Iowa, state climatologist Justin Glisan says many other areas remain bone-dry, and June is already starting out quite warm.
Computer models also indicate we may be trending toward near-normal precipitation to perhaps wetter-than-average conditions. Looking back at spring, which is traditionally March, April and May, it was the opposite.
Glisan says it’s shaping up to be the 20th driest spring on record for Iowa, and rainfall during May was scarce.
The just-concluded month was also warmer than normal.
A few counties in far eastern and northeastern Iowa are considered “normal” on the latest U-S Drought Monitor map, while roughly 53 counties are considered abnormally dry, and around 40 counties are in moderate to exceptional drought.
ERNST – DEBT CEILING BILL ACCEPTABLE
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says the recent deal to raise the nation’s borrowing limit wasn’t perfect, but it was acceptable to enough Republicans and Democrats to avert a federal government default. President Biden said months ago he would not negotiate on raising the so-called debt ceiling, but the bill he signed last week includes spending reforms. Ernst and the rest of Iowa’s congressional delegation voted for it. The deal removes work requirements for veterans and homeless adults who receive what are commonly called food stamps, but more older adults between the ages of 50 and 54 who do not have children will be required to work or be training for a new job. Ernst says that’s a big, huge win for Republicans.