Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

February 26, 2013

Supervisors deny grant request

Steve Woodhouse
Editor

---- — The Marion County Board of Supervisors, at its regular meeting on Tuesday, denied a request by the Iowa Heartland Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) for a $5,000 grant.

RC&D made the request at a previous board meeting. Once federally funded, the organization sought assistance from Marion County to continue its operations. One of the things it has done for the county in the past is assist with grant applications, a service that the county was also charged for.

"They are beneficial," Conservation Director Steve Edwards said of RC&D.

Supervisor Mark Raymie was concerned about continuing governmental support for agencies that focus on economic development. He believes that tax dollars should be used for essential county services, and not for requests such as this.

"I probably won't be supportive of it," Raymie said. A motion was made to approve the grant. Raymie and Board Chairman Jim Kingery voted nay, while Supervisor Craig Agan, who has worked with RC&D, abstained.

In other board action, the supervisors approved the county's noxious weed control program. This has been published in the Legal Notices of the Journal-Express. It will provide opportunities for those who receive complaints to address them before action is taken by the county. By approving the policy, the county also has a better legal standing, if an issue demands court action.

Due to Tuesday's unexpected early morning snowfall, a guest the supervisors expected was unable to attend. The man was coming to discuss a proposal for the Bussey Memorial Building.

This county-owned building was abandoned by the county months ago, due to liability fears from its poor condition. Tomorrow's Resources has proposed deconstructing the building, and reusing materials from it for other projects. Grant funding may also be available if the county allows this disposal of the building.

What the supervisors do not know is whether or not demolition or deconstructing of the building would be more fiscally responsible. The supervisors had insufficient information at the time of the meeting to discuss or move forward with any action regarding the building.

"We need to get better information before we do anything on this," Kingery said. The supervisors do not want to let the building fall into further disrepair and become an eyesore for the City of Bussey.

Other supervisors' notes:

• Approved a work beyond right of way agreement with Marvin Miller.

• Vacated a portion of right of way on G-71 near Twin Cedars Schools. Twin Cedars' bus barn burned down last year and a new one has been erected. A propane tank has been installed to service the new bus barn, when there was not one before. To keep the tank at the required distance from the building, the school district needed to place it on land that belonged to the county. County Engineer Roger Schletzbaum did not see an issue with vacating the land to accommodate the school district.

• Approved providing administration workspace for Mid Iowa Community Action. The organization will likely have space in the former Department of Human Services building.

• The supervisors now close their meetings with updates from the various boards and committees in which they represent the county. Kingery said Aging Resources is taking a 5 percent funding cut.

Raymie said the Fifth Judicial District discussed its budget request and how caseloads are growing for workers. Staffing levels within the district do not meet the mounting demand of work required. Money is going to become more of an issue for the courts.

Raymie added that Chief Judge Arthur Gamble also discussed courthouse security. Raymie reported that, in Gamble's opinion, the best way to keep the courthouse secure is to have a guard with a gun. Marion County is already doing this.

"I thought it was a good affirmation of what we are doing," Raymie said.

Agan represents the board on the Pella Planning and Zoning Commission. A new development, known as Fountain Hills, is progressing.

"This is a great economic development area," Agan said. He went on to report that the South Central Iowa Solid Waste Agency is doing well and that the Pella Area Development Corporation is looking into plans and development for the future.

The Central Iowa Regional Housing Authority is doing good things for Iowa, Agan added, though its presence in Marion County is not seen so much, because Knoxville and Pella are served by a local public housing agency.

• The next regular Board of Supervisors' meeting will be Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 9 a.m.