SOLID WASTE AGREEMENT
The Le Mars city council has approved an increase in solid waste collection fees with their contractor. Van’s Sanitation requested an increase per their five year agreement with the city. The agreement allows an increase set by the cost of living increase of the previous year. That increase would be 8.7%. That would increase the per unit rate from 6 dollars, 61 cents to 7 dollars, 18 cents. That would increase costs to the city of 2-thousand dollars per month.
The Le Mars Business Initiative Corporation (LBIC) requested financial assistance from the city in order to fund the demolition of Erdmanville. The cost of the work, plus landfill fees, is 135-thousand dollars. The city council approved the request Tuesday. Demolition will clear Erdmanville for development of apartments and commercial properties. It will be paid for through Tax Increment Financing proceeds. Future property taxes in the new development will pay for the demolition costs. Demolition can begin after January 4.
CONTRACTS AWARDED FOR TWO COUNTY PROJECTS
The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors Tuesday awarded contracts for two projects at county maintenance facilities. Wiltgen Brothers Construction of Le Mars was the lone bidder for replacement of a metal roof on a maintenance shed in Merrill. They bid 195-thousand dollars for the work. Of two bids for construction of a salt shed at Le Mars, Sitzmann Construction of Le Mars was awarded the contract. Their low bid was 598-thousand dollars. Work on the roofing project can begin in March or April. The salt shed project will begin May 15, and must be finished by the end of September, so that it can be put to use in the next winter road treatment season.
PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS
Several public safety officers were sworn in before the Le Mars city council meeting Tuesday.
Celebrating expansion of the public safety forces in the community.
It’s been a great effort combining fire and rescue into one service in Le Mars.
Chief Schipper introduced Keith Weuve, a new hire Firefighter/Paramedic.
Schipper says Weuve has already displayed his skills on the Le Mars force.
Weauve’s father, a retired fire chief in Bondurant Iowa, pinned the badge on Keith.
Ethan Mitchell was promoted from Battalion Chief to Battalion Chief/Fire Marshall Chief Schipper says Mitchell is willing and ready to carry out anything asked of him.
Mitchell fit the bill when looking for a new full-time member of Le Mars Fire-Rescue
Le Mars Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte introduced a new officer on the force. Matt Arn new officer 15th member of the force
Is an asset to the community, and now to the force.
Arn was hired Aug 27
LEWIS AND CLARK CONNECTS SHELDON
After nearly 34 years, the city of Sheldon is finally connected to a water system that serves northwest Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota. Troy Larson is executive director of the Lewis and Clark Regional Water system.
What became the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System was discussed in the late 1980s and incorporated in January of 1990. It wasn’t authorized by Congress until July of 2000. The first water started flowing over 11 years ago and Sheldon is the 18th water system to be connected. Larson says the benefits are significant.
Rock Rapids, Sioux Center, and Hull have been connected to the system one by one over the last five years. It is anticipated that Madison, South Dakota, will be connected by mid-2024 and Sibley, Iowa, will be the last to join — in the spring or summer of 2025.
SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS WANT MORE FUNDING FOR PRESCHOOL
The School Administrators of Iowa is recommending the 2024 Iowa legislature increase state funding for preschool programs for four year olds. The state currently finances 10 hours of preschool per student, per week. Organization executive director, Lisa Remy, says expanded preschool funding and early literacy are tied together. Remy says preschool doesn’t replace kindergarten, but full-day preschool helps kids develop a good “word bank” by the time they enter kindergarten. Governor Kim Reynolds told reporters in November her 2024 legislative agenda will include a focus on early literacy efforts. The governor will present her priorities to lawmakers in the annual “Condition of the State” message on January 9th.
STATE LAGS BEHIND LAST YEAR IN COVID AND FLU VACCINATIONS
Federal and state health data show just 20 percent of Iowans have received the updated COVID-19 booster, and only 30 percent have gotten their annual flu shot. Madison VanGundy with the Polk County Health Department is urging people to get vaccinated ahead of the holidays. She says it takes two full weeks to get that full immunity protection from vaccines, but it would still help now to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses if you get vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control reports the rate of COVID and flu hospitalizations have been increasing statewide. VanGundy says some people aren’t getting the shots due to time constraints and the minor side effects that can come from the vaccines. She says you could be out for 24 hours with some minor aches with the vaccine or you could be hit hard with the respiratory viruses and be out for one to two weeks.