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Benton supervisors discuss I-Jobs funding

VINTON – An update on the grant application for I-Jobs funds was given at the June 22 meeting of the Benton County Board of Supervisors.

According to board minutes, Scott Hansen and Steve Meyer with Emergency Management met with the board regarding a grant application with I-Jobs Disaster Prevention. Meyer reported that he and Hansen attended a meeting regarding the grant. Meyer stated the initial research has found that the funds are available if requested in large enough amounts.

Meyer reported that if the funding request was tied in with the City of Vinton’s efforts to construct a floodwall and Hesco barriers, then the grant application might be large enough to qualify for funding.

Auditor Jill Marlow stated the grant funding came with a requirement that the county implement “Smart Planning” in its zoning and land use ordinances.

Marc Greenlee, land use administrator, stated it will require that the county meet 13 objectives to meet “Smart Planning.” Greenlee said the county had a review of its comprehensive plan and land use ordinance in 2006. Had that been adopted, it may have touched on some of the Smart Planning principles. Greenlee said meeting all of the objectives may be overkill for the county, but there is also a lack of mandatory language in the legislation resulting in variables with the matter.

Greenlee reported a task force is to report back to the legislature before the next session.

Marlow stated that in order to file an intent to apply, the county would have to adopt a resolution stating that they we would review its comprehensive plan to see if it incorporates smart planning and then, if the county is awarded funds, the county must – within three years – adopt a comprehensive plan incorporating the smart planning principles.

The auditor stated a plan was proposed in 2006 that incorporated some of the smart planning principles, but the board did not adopt that plan and questioned if the board was going to be willing to adopt something different. Marlow stated that Meyer and Hansen could not even give their notice of intent to apply if the county wasn’t willing to change the current comprehensive plan. Supervisor David Vermedahl stated that he wanted time to read the material presented and that he wasn’t prepared to make a decision on information just provided to him.

In other business at the board meeting:

Kenneth Nemecek met with the board regarding the Oak Grove Road project. Nemecek stated the stakes for the new road right-of-way is located 10 feet from his house and will take all of his trees. Nemecek questioned who had the final say as to the location of the road. Supervisor Sanders responded that the board has given the engineer the go ahead with the plans, but the board has the ultimate decision on the project. Sanders stated that he would look into the matter.

The board set a land use hearing requested by Steve and Joyce Albert on Parcel C located in the SE1/4 of the SE1/4 of 21-86-9 for a automotive repair business, and to set July 20, 2010, at 9:30 a.m. as the time and date for a public hearing on a land use change requested by John and Sharon Pease on a parcel located in the W1/2 of the SW1/4 of 33-82-11.

The board approved a Class B Native Wine Liquor License for Apple Cart Orchard. All members voting aye thereon.

The board voted to pass the shortage of funding from the State on the Homestead Credit to the property taxpayers. The state is only funding 64 percent of the credit.

Jerry Petermeier met with the board regarding the law enforcement center project. Petermeier stated that issues surrounding the radio tower structure had been investigated. It was found that the tower has not moved for at least eight months. The structural engineer advised to straighten the legs and leave it; however, the contractor wants a guarantee from the county that the tower and footings are structurally sound before he proceeds with any work in that area. Petermeier stated that it is virtually impossible to get an engineer to certify the tower as structurally sound unless they can see the footings/foundation. Petermeier reported the person who built the tower is no longer living and it isn’t possible to find out what is under the tower without drilling down and finding the footings. Petermeier suggested that the county contract with TEAM Services to locate the foundation/footings so that the issue can be resolved. 

The board voted to direct Petermeier to proceed with securing TEAM Services to conduct the necessary testing on the tower footings/foundation.

The board approved law enforcement contracts with the following cities for the period beginning July 1, 2010 and ending June 30, 2011: Atkins, Blairstown, Garrison, Keystone, Luzerne, Mt. Auburn, Newhall, Norway, Van Horne, and Walford.

The board adopted Resolution #10 - amending budget within service area. 

The auditor spoke to the board about the emergency services use of the local option sales tax. Marlow reported that Virginia Gay Hospital has asked if they could request funds to purchase training mannequins. Marlow also spoke about the EMS LOSST given to NBA and if the remainder of the $20,000 allocation could be used for flood recovery expenses at the ambulance garage.

The auditor discussed Benton County’s share of the Iowa Finance Authority’s Recovery Zone Bond Allocation. The county was allocated $390,000 in Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds and $586,000 in Recover Zone Facility Bonds.

A hearing was set for July 6 to enter into a General Fund Loan Agreement in a principal amount not to exceed $400,000 for the purpose of paying the cost, to that extent, of acquiring property and remodeling a Benton County Conservation Nature Center.

UPDATED June 28, 2010 3:47 PM

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