PLYMOUTH COUNTY BUDGET AMENDMENT
The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors approved a fiscal year 23-24 budget amendment today (Tuesday). This amendment includes 98-thousand dollars in revenues from donations and grants, mainly for conservation efforts. The amendment also reflects expenses of some 904-thousand dollars. Half of that amount is payment for a new jail integrator, a control system for the county law enforcement center. The rest covers conservation projects totaling 330-thousand dollars, and an LED lighting project at county buildings.
HOME BASE IOWA
The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors approved their participation in the Home Base Iowa program. This is a countywide program of incentives to aid veterans and their families. The motion passed by the Supervisors approves an incentive package, which includes up to 25-hundred dollars to cover expenses incurred by veterans who move to Plymouth County from another state. The motion includes a one year residency requirement for veterans who receive relocation funds. The county will offer up to four grants of 25-hundred dollars each, with a maximum 10-thousand dollars per year . The county will also cover the costs of posting road signs which indicate Plymouth County’s participation in Home Base Iowa. A list of incentives offered to veterans by businesses and trade groups are part of the package.
SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS
School board elections in Plymouth County will feature several races.
In the Le Mars Community School District, two board members are not seeking re-election.
In director District 3, Joe Sitzmann and Zach Davis have filed for election. Incumbent Jane Arnold is not seeking re-election.
There are two at-large seats open for election. Four candidates seek those posts, including incumbent Kyle Plathe, along with Scott Eilts, Zach Lancaster and Shawn Olson. Board Chair Angela Catton is not seeking re-election.
In director District 5, Incumbent Jill Feuerhelm seeks re-election. There are no other candidates who filed for election to that seat.
In the Remsen-Union School District, three people have filed for election to two at-large seats. They include incumbent Travis J. Tentinger, David Nicks and Justin Tentinger. Current Board member Sarah Kreier is not seeking re-election.
SCHOOL BUS VIOLATIONS
We’re about one month into the new school year and some drivers are still forgetting to stop when school buses are dropping off and picking up kids. Sioux City Police Sergeant Mark Huberty says they’ve had to issue a number of tickets.
Huberty says violating the school bus law involves more than a ticket.
Huberty says they’ve seen too many drivers recently not paying attention.
He’s referring to the cameras on the buses which can record the violation and information on the drivers.
MUNICIPAL ELECTION CANDIDATES
There won’t be many contested races for city government in Plymouth County, but there will be new candidates. The Plymouth County Auditor compiled a candidates list after the filing deadline passed.
In Le Mars, city councilman Mike Donlan will not seek re-election for an at-large seat. Four candidates have filed for candidacy in that election, including Mark Lindsay, Brad Pick, Patrick Renken and Mark D. Miller. Councilman Steve Wick is running unopposed in Ward 2. Mayor Rob Bixenman is seeking a second two year term, and there is no opponent who has filed for candidacy.
There’s also a race for Floyd Valley Healthcare Board of Trustees. Three seats are up for election, and four people have filed for the seats. They include incumbents Janelle Bixenman, and Dana Schuster. Two others, Christi Calhoun and Douglas Carlson, have filed for the election. Incumbent Ralph Klemme announced earlier that he would not seek re-election to the Floyd Valley Healthcare Board.
In Remsen, there is no candidate filed for election for mayor. Joel Fisch is the incumbent. He is not seeking re-election. For city council, Incumbent Kentra Rensink and Douglas Ruhland have filed for election to two city council seats.
In Merrill, there is no candidate listed for election to mayor. Bruce Norgaard is the incumbent. He is not seeking re-election. There is a five-way race for three city council seats in Merrill. The candidates include incumbent Logan Held, and four others – Vicky Hemmelman, Karson Morehead, Deb Gillaspie, and Carla Rieken.
Hinton’s mayor, Kelly Kreber, seeks re-election, running unopposed,. One incumbent, Jeffrey R. Johnson, is running for city council. There are three council seats open in Hinton, but only one candidate – Johnson.
In Kingsley, incumbent mayor Rick Bohle is seeking re-election, running unopposed. There are three incumbents who filed for three city council seats, with no opponents. They include Keith Bohle and Todd Beelmer running for four-year terms, and another incumbent, Justin Baker, filed for a two year council term to fill a vacancy.
In Akron, there is no candidates listed for mayor. Incumbent Alex Pick is not seeking re-election. There are three people listed for the election for three city council seats. They include Sue Gabel, Adam Loutsch, and incumbent Ryan Bergman. There is a three way race for two seats on the Akron Care Center Board of Trustees. They include Richard Gabel, and incumbents Diane Von Hagel and Angela Auchstetter Carey.
DEMOCRATIC PARTY LEADERS SEEK COUNTY CHAIRS
Iowa Democratic Party chair Rita Hart says she’s working to ensure the party has leadership at the local level.
Democrats have temporary county chairs in Ida, Louisa, Marion and O’Brien Counties. Hart was the Clinton County Democratic Party chair when she was elected in January to lead the state party. She spoke this weekend at a fundraiser for Kossuth County Democrats.
Hart cites Republican Brenna Bird’s defeat of Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller in last year’s election as a great example of why rebuilding the party at the county level is important.
WATER QUALITY OPINIONS
A report on state water quality by an Iowa State University Extension “Think Tank” finds opinions don’t diverge very much on some of the issues. The director of the Conservation Learning Group, Jacqueline Comito, had done some surveys of college students on the issue 12 years ago, but this report includes the first comprehensive survey of college student. Comito used her expertise as an anthropolgy professor to dig into the responses of the college students.
Agricultural issues were cited by most people as the biggest water quality concern. Comito says though, it wasn’t a case of blaming farmers for everything.
Comito says that’s a key point in the discussion.
Comito says the report should help the D-N-R as they are trying to finalize their nonpoint source management plan. She hopes it will make that plan more accessible so that the everyday average Iowan can read it. Comito says it should also give insight to those doing outreach and education, so they know what people are thinking and feeling.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IOWA BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
A review committee is recommending the elimination or consolidation of 43 percent of state boards, commissions and advisory groups — slightly fewer than were listed in the committee’s initial report. The temporary review panel was established by the state government reorganization law Governor Kim Reynolds signed this spring and its report will be forwarded to state lawmakers, who’ll make the final decisions. Iowa Department of Management director Kraig Paulsen, who led the group, says some may struggle to conceive of a smaller and less intrusive state government, but everyday Iowans don’t. The review panel is recommending the consolidation or elimination of 111 state boards or commissions. Senator Tony Bisignano, a Democrat from Des Moines, says he’s concerned by the recommendation to get rid of the so-called gender balance requirement that men and women be represented equally on state boards and commissions.