Home News KLEM News for Thursday, April 18

KLEM News for Thursday, April 18


The Le Mars city council approved a professional services agreement with HR Green, Incorporated, ot apply for a Brownfield Assessment grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. The grant would help the city identify properties that may become eligible for cleanup in order to proceed with redevelopment. Le Mars Economic Development Director Mark Gaul says this came about because of required assessment at the Erdmanville redevelopment site. Gaul says there may be other places in the city which need environmental cleanup. The Brownfields assessments would move site development more quickly, and would also speed up an application for EPA grants to help with cleanup of a site. The council approved the contract with HR Green at a cost of 15-thousand dollars.



The Le Mars city council has set a public hearing for May 7, to consider plans and cost estimates for construction of a taxiway at the Municipal Airport. The project consultant, Bolton and Menk, has prepared the plans and specs for the council’s approval. The taxiway will connect to projects to build one, and possibly two hangars at the airport., The estimated cost of the taxiway is 600-thousand dollars. There are four alternate bids to consider, for infrastructure associated with the project, that could increase the project’s cost by another 400-thousand dollars. The consultant says parts of the project are eligible for FAA and Iowa DOT funding. If approved at the public hearing, bids will be taken, and a contract awarded by May 21. Construction is planned to begin in September, and the project completed in May, 2025.



Republican legislators plan to cut Iowans’ income taxes by a billion dollars next year. Cuts approved two years ago would have implemented a flat rate of just under four percent in 2026. The new G-O-P plan goes lower, to three-point-eight percent and it would take effect a year earlier — in 2025. Senator Dan Dawson, a Republican from Council Bluffs, is chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee that develops tax policy.

The plan also tweaks property tax limits the legislature enacted last year, letting some cities and counties a bit more property tax revenue.
The bill has already cleared a Senate subcommittee this morning. Lobbyists for developers, banks and business groups are praising the legislation.
Brad Hartkopt is with the Iowa Association of Business and Industry.
Mike Owen of Common Good Iowa says tax cuts should instead be targeted to Iowa’s working poor.

Republicans say this latest round of tax cuts are possible because state budget plans for next year don’t spend all of the available tax revenue and a withdrawal from the Taxpayer Relief Fund which is where unspent taxes from previous years have been deposited. Representative Kaufmann says that Taxpayer Relief Fund will have more than two BILLION dollars left in it after next year’s withdrawal.



A northwest Iowa legislator says while it may not seem so, there’s a lot of activity at the state house as lawmakers try to finish up their work for the session.

State Senator Jeff Taylor of Sioux Center says lawmakers have been hard at work on budgets.  Taylor is chair of the Senate Education Committee.


There’s also policy bills to consider.


Lawmakers are approaching the 100th day of the session, the last day they will be paid for their work.



The city of Le Mars will apply for tax credits which will benefit two apartment projects located near the airport. Deluxury Real Estate LLC is planning to build a 12 unit apartment, and 1410 Holton Drive LLC plans a 24-unit apartment project.  Both developers have asked the city to apply to the Workforce Housing Tax Credit Program, administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.  The city will fulfill a local match for these exemptions.  The total tax exemption under this program will be 129-thousand dollars for Deluxury Real Estate and 241-thousand for 1410 Holton Drive LLC.  Each tax exemption will cover the first seven years of operation of these developments.



The Dickinson County Board of Supervisors has unanimously adopted an ordinance that would require a proposed carbon pipeline to be at least 16-hundred feet outside of cities in the northwest Iowa county. Buffer zones also would be required around homes, schools, medical facilities and public parks. Bonnie Ewalt of Milford says the ordinance is needed to protect the health and safety of Dickinson County residents.


Summit Carbon Solutions has proposed a pipeline through Iowa and four other states, to ship liquified carbon to underground storage in North Dakota. Scott O’Konek, a Minnesota-based project manager for Summit, says ordinances like this could stymie development of the pipeline and harm the ethanol plants that plan to connect to it.


Green Plains Superior is an ethanol plant located in Dickinson county. Summit has sued five other counties with ordinances similar to the one in Dickinson County.



A proposed ten-thousand dollar hike in the salaries for the governor, other statewide elected officials and members of the Iowa legislature has passed initial review in the Iowa House. The current 25-thousand dollar salary was set in 2007. Republican Representative Steven Holt of Denison say some lawmakers aren’t seeking reelection because they can’t afford to serve — and failing to act means the legislature may soon be made up of a bunch of rich people and retired folks. If the bill becomes law, the higher salaries would go into after the 2024 election. The governor’s salary would be 140-thousand dollars. The bill would tie future salary hikes for lawmakers and statewide elected officials to negotiated pay raises for state employees.



An Iowa State University study concludes the state of Iowa is offering a successful program model for young people after they leave the foster care system. Professor Carl Weems, who chairs I-S-U’s department of human development and family studies, helped develop the study which gauges the risks and effects of trauma, along with prevention and interventions that bolster resilience. Weems says they compiled five years of data, looking at things like high school graduation rates, employment, and general satisfaction with the services. He says the support network is working “really well” in helping teens transition to adulthood. Weems says most youth in our state’s foster care program enroll in the Iowa Aftercare Service Network shortly after they turn 18, and they engage in the program for more than two-and-a-half years.