Home News KLEM News for Tuesday, February 20

KLEM News for Tuesday, February 20

The Le Mars City council approved a request from a firm intending to build a professional and retail center in the Highway 75 Business Park. Schelling Holdings LLC wants to build a 10-thousand square foot structure on Holton Drive next to Goodwill. Their plan represents a capital investment of 2 million dollars. Schelling requested an upfront Economic Development Assistance of 2112-thousand dollars, instead of the usual three year tax abatement. It will take an estimated 5.5 years of property taxes to pay off the investment. Tax Increment Financing proceeds on the property will pay for the investment. City Economic Development Director Mark Gaul said the upfront incentive was due to the difficulties of designing the structure on a lot that borders a water channel.  The project could probably not be done without the upfront payment.    Councilman Clark Goodchild says this approach sets a dangerous precedent for economic development requests.  He also opposed to using Tax Increment Financing to fund this request.  The council voted to approve the request on a 4-1 vote.


The Le Mars Police Department will hold their first community meeting of the year Wednesday. February 21, from 6 to 8 p.m, at the Le Mars Convention Center, lower level.
Police will hold open discussion on a couple of topics: Active Threats, and Internet Crimes Against Children. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions on any subject of concern.


A Sioux Center man was handed a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to Indecent Contact with a child. Last September, Donald Lee Kirkbride, 49, admitted to police that he had inappropriate contact with a juvenile at his residence. Last week, Kirkbride pled guilty to the charge, which is an Aggravated Misdemeanor. He was ordered to serve a year in the Sioux County Jail, suspended. He was ordered to register as a sex offender for a period of ten years,and will be supervised by a special sex offender probation officer,


There will be a public hearing before the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, March 5, to consider approval of an amendment to the current fiscal year budget.
The amendment includes 657-thousand dollars in additional revenue, 570-thousand of that in accrued interest. Other revenues come from state reimbursements, election revenues, court fees, and real estate taxes.
Expenses in the budget amendment total 216-thousand dollars. Just under half of that amount will cover additional administrative costs, wages for drivers license examiners, landfill services and insurance, and jail equipment and repairs. The budget amendment hearing will be during the Board of Supervisors meeting, at 10 am Tuesday, March 5,


The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors today approved wages paid for 163 county employees over calendar year 2023.
The list includes all elected officials, department heads, and full-time and part-time employees, even those who quit or were deceased in 2023.
Gross wages total just over 8 million dollars in the year just ended.


Republicans on a Senate subcommittee have advanced the governor’s bill to speed up state income tax cuts, provide a property tax cut for commercial child care centers AND reduce the tax businesses pay into the state’s unemployment trust fund. However, Senator Dan Dawson — the Republican who leads the Senate Ways and Means Committee — says those components are going to be considered as separate bills in the coming weeks — with his own bill to gradually eliminate the state income tax in the mix.


Governor Kim Reynolds has proposed lowering the state income tax retroactively to three-point-65 percent THIS year and to three-and-a-half percent next year. Molly Severn is the governor’s legislative liaison.


Money in the Taxpayer Relief Fund would be used to accomplish the governor’s immediate tax cutting goals. Dawson has proposed investing that money and using the profits to gradually reduce the state income tax.


Senate Democratic Leader Pam says getting rid of the income tax benefits the wealthiest Iowans.


Johum also opposes the plan to lower the taxes businesses pay into the state fund that’s used to cover unemployment checks.


Severn, from the governor’s office, says the governor’s proposal would lower businesses unemployment insurance taxes by 40 percent.


Severn says initial estimates indicate the tax break would save Iowa employers over 800 million dollars over five years.



The Le Mars City Council meets in regular session at noon today.  Action items on the agenda include an economic development assistance request; award of contract for the Industrial Park Fourth Addition project; funding recommendations from the Convention and Visitors Bureau; and approval of funding for pay raises for employees not covered by collective bargaining.  Annual reports from the Police, Community Development, and Code Enforcement will take place.  At one p.m., the council will carry on a budget workshop.


The Iowa Senate passed legislation that strengthens Iowa’s foreign ownership of farmland law.  Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig says the law will be a model for other states.  The bill contains elements for additional deterence, disclosure and enforcement of the law.  The bill now goes to the Iowa House.


The federal government says Iowa isn’t processing food assistance applications fast enough. U-S Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack sent Governor Kim Reynolds and 43 other states letters urging them to improve the efficiency of their SNAP benefits programs. The letter from U-S-D-A says Iowa has an application processing timeliness rate of just under 83 percent. That’s far below the feds’ acceptable performance rate of 95 percent. A spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services says they’re continuing to review and make improvements to the process for reviewing SNAP applications.



The Iowa Senate has approved a bill that would let the governor and the state executive council bypass the state auditor’s office and hire private C-P-As to audit all state agencies. Senator Mike Bousselot, a Republican from Ankeny, is the bill’s sponsor.


All 31 Republicans present voted for the proposal — the first bill to pass the Senate this year. All 16 democrats in the senate voted against it. Senator Tony Signorina of Des Moines says the bill means state auditor Rob Sand, the only Democrat serving in statewide office, would not be able to investigate state agency spending.


The bill now goes to the Iowa House for consideration.



A Tama County woman was charged Monday in the 2021 shooting death of her husband. The D-C-I says 46-year-old Karina Cooper was arrested at her home in Traer and charged with first-degree murder in the death of her husband Ryan. The court document filed in the case says a deputy responded to a 9-1-1 call at the home at 4:42 a-m on June 18, 2021. The deputy found Ryan Cooper dead in a reclining chair, and Karina Cooper was sitting on top of him. The medical examiner determined Ryan Cooper died from two gunshot wounds.  On February 19, 2024, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation’s Major Crime Unit and the Tama County Sheriff’s Office arrested Karina Cooper at her residence in Traer, Iowa.  The investigation is ongoing.



Iowa Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks says the government-run Veterans Administration hospitals and clinics need to develop a strategy to keep up what’s happening in the private sector when it comes to artificial intelligence. Miller-Meeks says there appear to be pitfalls in A-I when it comes to data privacy, but A-I could help quickly and accurately diagnose health issues and predict patient risks — and save money. Miller-Meeks suggests clear guidelines for human input is critical, however, because if the data A-I learned from is incorrect or biased, it can be make incorrect predictions that result in the wrong diagnosis and treatment. The Veterans Health Administration is the country’s largest health system, with 172 hospitals and over 11-hundred clinics. Miller-Meeks says. Miller-Meeks, a Republican who represents Iowa’s first congressional district, is an eye doctors and an Army veterans