COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT
The Le Mars city council Tuesday approved a new , two year contract with the Le Mars Employee Bargaining Unit. This includes a new wage scale for Police employees. The Employee Bargaining Unit will see a wage increase of a dollar per hour, and four percent to each wage step in the first year, and 5% in the second year of the contract. Police Employees will see a 3% increase to each step for Police Officers, and a 1 dollar per hour increase, plus 4% for the Secretary and Office Assistant. There’s also a new salary ladder, with two additional levels. The new agreement takes effect July 1, 2024, and extends to June 30, 2026. The pay scale for police is part of an overall plan to retain current police officers, and to attract new ones.
The trial of David Jack Diaz of Sioux City. will take place next month in Plymouth County District Court. Diaz is accused of rearending another vehicle at a high rate of speed, causing fatal injury to a back seat passenger in the other car. Trial was to begin last month, but District Judge Jeffrey Neary granted a brief continuance filed by Diaz’ attorney, Michael Jacobsma. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for December 19. Trial is scheduled for January 16, 2024. Diaz is charged with vehicular homicide and driving under the influence, in the death of a Sioux City woman in June of last year.
AIRPORT IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
The Le Mars City Council Tuesday approved an updated list of proposed improvements at the city’s airport. These will be submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration. The list was compiled by the city’s consulting firm, Bolton and Menk. The projects proposed between 2025 and 2029 include site development for a new hangar, reconstruction of the apron adjacent to the hangars, and improved runway edge lighting. Apron reconstruction and expansion are projects that will be funded by the Iowa Department of Transportation. The total estimated cost of all of these projects is 3.25 million dollars. The apron project is estimated at 2.25 million.
STATE TAX PAYMENTS DROP
The latest information from the Legislative Services Agency shows a 243 million dollar drop in personal income tax payments to the State of Iowa over the past five months.The three-person panel that sets an estimate of state tax receipts predicted in October that state income tax tax payments would drop, mostly due to the tax reduction plan Governor Reynolds signed into law. For the first five months of the state fiscal year, there’s been a more than 12 percent decline in income tax payments to the state compared to same period a year ago. That is a larger drop than had been predicted, but recent accounting changes in state government make direct comparisons difficult.
NUNN INVITES NEW HOUSE SPEAKER TO IOWA
Congressman Zach Nunn, who represents Iowa’s third district, says the Farm Bill need direct leadership support and he is inviting the top two Republicans in the U-S House to Iowa. The 2018 Farm Bill expired September 30th and last month congress voted to extend it to September of 2024. Nunn says House Speaker Mike Johnson would be able to get a tutorial on the Farm Bill’s impact on major crops like corn and soybeans if he visits Iowa. Speaker Johnson AND House Republican Leader Steve Scalise (skuh-LEESE) are both from Louisiana, where the main crops are sugar cane, rice and cotton.
HINTON RUNOFF ELECTION
There was a surprise in the runoff election in Hinton Tuesday, to fill two council seats.
A writein candidate, Ryan Weber, received the most votes, 31, and was elected to the city council. One of the listed candidates, Brooke Smith, was also elected with 26 votes. Chris Zeller and Lee Adams were the other candidates in the race. There were 63 voters who participated in the runoff election. The results from the Plymouth County Auditor:
Ryan Weber (Write In) 31
Brooke Smith 26
Chris Zeller 23
Lee Adams 12
Write In – Scattering 6
Total Voters: 63
WARM WEATHER RETURNS
The weather is going to cooperate if you still have some outdoor work to do this week. National Weather Service meteorologist, Alexis Jimenez, says temperatures are forecast to be double the norm and reach near 60 degrees by Thursday. She says it will be a little bit breezy with some gusts up to 30 miles per hour at times as we get through the middle part of the week. with that portion of the weather, but as far as temperatures go it’s going to be pretty nice out there. A cold front moves through on Saturday and high temperatures will fall back into the upper 30s.
HALEY RETURNS TO NORTHWEST IOWA
Republican Presidential Candidate Nikki Haley will be returning to northwest Iowa for campaign events this weekend following tonight’s fourth G-O-P presidential primary debate in Alabama.
Haley will hold a town hall event at the Sioux City Convention Center on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday morning she will attend Congressman Randy Feenstra’s Faith & Family event at the Dordt University campus in Sioux Center at 9 a.m.
Haley will then hold a town hall in Spirit Lake at 2:15 p.m. Saturday at the Okoboji Barn.
FEENSTRA SAYS HIS CONSTITUENTS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE ECONOMY
Fourth District Congressman, Randy Feenstra, says his constituents are concerned about the country’s economic situation.
He says high interest rates are also making it tough on businesses.
Feenstra, a Republican from Hull, says mounting credit card debt is another issue.
Feenstra says Congress needs to find a way to balance the federal budget and the Biden Administration needs to stop increasing spending. He says without changes the federal debt will continue to climb and that means we need more taxpayer dollars to fund the interest of our debt.
TRAFFIC STOP LEADS TO ARREST
A traffic stop near Kingsley Saturday resulted in a passenger’s arrest. The Plymouth County Sheriffs Office reports that a traffic stop was made on Iowa Highway 140 and 300th Street near Kingsley. The vehicle was travelling at a high rate of speed, 30 miles per hour over the posted limit. The driver, Shawna Lee Fenceroy, 42 of Sioux City, was cited for driving 85 mph in a 55 mph zone. A passenger in the vehicle, 43 year old Dontae Davis of Le Mars, was arrested for violating a no contact order. He was held without bond at the Plymouth County Jail.
Sioux County authorities are investigating a recent farm theft. The Sheriffs Office says they were called to a farm six miles west of Sioux Center. Deputies say multiple custom-made cattle gates were stolen from the property. The gates are unique in that they have only four crossbars, not the typical 5 or 6 crossbars. The theft is believed to have occurred in the past two weeks. If you have any information on this, you are asked to contact the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.