The Le Mars City Council today approved two measures intended to attract and retain police officers in Le Mars. The firstr was to amend the city’s ordinance concerning residency required for police officers. The amendment allows officers to lvie within 35 miles of Le Mars Police headquarters, instead of the previous 15 miles. The council passed first reading of the amended ordinance, waived the second and third readings, and moved to adopt the amendment.
The other move by the council increases police officers’ pay, and adds increments to their salary scale. The police chief and assistant chief say Le Mars PD wages are below average in comparison to state, county and other area law enforcement. Based on discussions with the Public Safety Committee and Administrative Committee, the City Administrator recommended a 4 dollars per hour pay increase for all officers. a 10-step wage scale was also recommended, to replace the current 7-step scale. The council approved the recommendations. The new pay structure takes effect January 1 of 2024.
QUILTS OF VALOR PRESENTED TONIGHT
Ginny Freyermuth and Geri Dreckman have created ten quilts which will be presented to veterans tonight at the Le Mars Legion Hall.
Freyermuth says these are Quilts of Valor.
Freyermuth got her granddaughters involved ihn making quilts, then found a new partner in making Quilts of Valor.
Ten Quilts will be presented to area veterans at a ceremony at 7 pm at Le Mars Legion Hall.
OC PEDESTRIAN STRUCK
Orange City Police are investigating an accident this morning where an SUV struck a pedestrian. Police say the accident occured around 7-30 am on Iowa Highway 10. An eastbound vehicle reportedly struck the pedestrian, a college student. The victim was taken by ambulance to Orange CIty Area Health System, then airlifted to a regional hospital. No further details are available at this time.
It’s election day across Iowa. Polls have opened at 7 a.m., and will close at 8 p.m. This election centers on city council and school board seats, and special issues in certain cities and school districts.
In Le Mars, Mayor Rob Bixenman seeks a second two-year term in office. He is running unopposed. There are two city council seats up for election, both four-year terms. Incumbent Steve Wick is running unopposed in Ward 2. There are four candidates running for election to an at-large seat on the council. They include Mark Lindsay, Brad Pick, Patrick Renken, and Mark Miller.
There is a contested race for Floyd Valley Hospital Trustee. Five people seek three seats on the Hospital Board, including Christie Calhoun, Douglas Carlson, Janelle Bixenman, Dana Schuster, and Patrick Rosacker.
School Board elections also take place today. In the Le Mars Community School District, Joe Sitzman and Zach Davis seek election to a seat representing Director District 3. In Director District 4, incumbent school board member Jill Feuerhelm seeks re-election. She’s running unopposed. There’s another race for two at-large seats on the school board. Four candidates seek election there, including Scott Eilts, incumbent Kyle Plathe, Zach Lancaster, and Shawn Olson.
A special question on the Le Mars Community School Board ballot would, if approved, would extend the revenue purpose statement for SAVE fund proceeds through the year 2051.
There are special issues on two other Plymouth County School Board ballots. In Hinton, voters have four special questions, all related to a proposed 16.1 million dollars bond issue for school improvements. One question would give approval to the project, the other three concern funding for the project. In the Kingsley-Pierson School District, voters are asked to approve a Physical Plant and Equipment Levy, or PPEL, for the district.
LE MARS CITY COUNCIL
The Le Mars city council will meet today at noon at the city hall downtown. Their meeting begins with a hearing on a proposal to expand the residency requirement for police officers, as outlined in the city code. The change would allow officers to live within 35 miles of Le Mars. After the hearing, the council will vote on first reading of the ordinance, then to waive second and third readings, and adopt the ordinance. The council also has a number of action items on the agenda today. They include an update on property and casualty insurance, and offer to purchase property; a wage increase for police officers; deleting some property from the Le Mars Highway 75 Bypass Urban Renewal area; and an amendment to an engineering agreement for reconstruction of the municipal airport runway.
RURAL ROCK VALLEY FIRE
That fire reported near Rock Valley Sunday night turned into a massive fire fight. Rock Valley Fire Chief Brent Eshuis says the fire broke out in a large stack of hay bales at a farm five miles southwest of Rock Valley. Strong winds caused the fire to spread quickly. Mutual aid response came from 25 fire departments, including Akron and Le Mars Fire Rescue, all of Sioux County’s fire departments, and seven from southeast South Dakota. Some 1-thousand bales of hay burned, and Chief Eshuis estimated 200-thousand gallons of water were used to put out the fire. Farm implements and heavy equipment were brought in to contain the fire and keep nearby livestock safe. Two Rock Valley businesses donated food and water to help the firefighters.
HARVEST CLOSE TO FINISH LINE
The corn and soybean harvest could be close to wrapping up this week. The U-S-D-A says just three percent of the soybeans remain to be harvested statewide, and around ten percent of the corn. The majority of the corn still in the fields is in south-central Iowa, where the report says only 69 percent has been harvested through Sunday. The same area lags behind in the bean harvest as well, with 86 percent complete, while the report shows 100 percent of the beans have been harvested in the north-central portion of the state.