Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 23, 2014

Supervisors approve $1,500 for Food Bank of Southern Iowa

By DIANE VANCE | Jan 27, 2014

The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors will send out letters this week to some commercial property tax filers who included non-eligible tax parcels in applications for the new state business tax credits.

“We had a short timeline for people to apply for the credit,” said county assessor Sheri Blough. “The deadline for filing for the credit was Jan. 15. I have some applications that will be disallowed because filers included agricultural or other property that isn’t part of the allowance.”

Blough asked the supervisors to send out letters on the supervisors’ stationery, though she has drafted the letters to the people involved and stated the reasons for the disallowance of credits.

Blough said they would still get the tax credit on the eligible commercial property.

“Specific type of commercial property such as apartment buildings were not part of this tax credit,” she said.

Blough also asked the board to approve the applications, about 700, that are correct.

Neal Abbott, executive director of the Food Bank of Southern Iowa in Ottumwa, addressed the supervisors today with an annual budget request for $1,500. Last year, Jefferson County contributed $1,250.

Abbott said the Food Bank of Southern Iowa has been in business 30 years and serves 13 counties: Appanoose, Davis, Des Moines, Henry, Jefferson, Keokuk, Lee, Louisa, Mahaska, Monroe, Van Buren, Wapello and Wayne.

“Last year, our food bank provided 130,000 pounds of food to Jefferson County,” said Abbott. “We provide a unique service in delivering food to the 13 counties; many food banks require entities to come pick it up, which requires trucks and refrigeration.”

The food bank charges a 14-cent per pound handling fee.

He said The Lord’s Cupboard receives about 90 percent of its food from the Food Bank of Southern Iowa.

The Food Bank of Southern Iowa also provides food to two day care centers in Jefferson County, the senior meal site and for Tenco, said Abbott.

“Delivering to 13 counties, our fuel bill is about $2,000 per month, “ he said.

He said 20 percent of Jefferson County’s population has some type of food insecurity.

“It’s an even higher percentage among the county’ children,” he said.

Supervisor Dick Reed told him the check would be in the mail.

The supervisors also approved funding the Regional Housing Trust Fund for $2,525 for fiscal year 2015, which works out to 15-cents per capita for Jefferson County’s population.

The Regional Housing Trust Fund serves six counties with no-interest and low-interest loans that are forgiven after five years to income-eligible residents to fix maintenance work on homes.

Supervisor chairman Lee Dimmitt and Jefferson County’s representative on the regional housing board, said 173 Jefferson County households have been served from 2011 to 2013.

In other committee business:

• Reed reported meeting with the Secondary Road crew, discussing jobs and recommending the department take a 2.5 percent pay increase for fiscal year 2015.

• Reed said the courthouse lobby was receiving renovations, including new backup lighting at the south entrance.

• Dimmitt said the executive board of the Regional Utility Service Systems held an emergency meeting about the Department of Natural Resources not renewing its annual $50,000 funding to RUSS.

“Even though at a regular RUSS meeting, the vote was 5-3 to pass the costs on to individual users, it’s been brought back up for another vote at the next meeting,” said Dimmit. “Some want the cost passed onto the counties.”

• Dimmitt reported the Iowa Department of Transportation would provide no-interest loans to 10-15 Transit to purchase new vehicles.

“We need to be running mini-vans to medical appointments to Iowa City,” he said. “Right now, we’re taking two or three people a trip on an 18-passenger bus.”

• Supervisor Becky Schmitz said the Early Childhood Board of Jefferson, Keokuk, Washington and Iowa counties is making it a priority to register home day care places.

Schmitz and Dimmitt commented on the success of the Alcohol Consumption Task Force annual presentation/town hall meeting Thursday.

“It had good attendance,” said Schmitz.

Dimmitt said audience participation went very well, and he commended assistant county attorney Pat McAvan for his remarks.

Audience member Dave Neff reported he was one of three representatives from Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau attending Saturday’s Bike Iowa convention in Des Moines.

“We handed out brochures and brought along photos from this summer’s RAGBRAI, and people there found themselves in the photos,” said Neff. “Fairfield was one of a handful of booths that wasn’t a bike shop or bike business there.”

He said the reception to Fairfield was very positive.

In business Jan. 20, the supervisors:

• Set a public hearing for 9:30 a.m. Feb. 3 about selling a parcel of county land on Brookville Road adjacent to the railroad (south side).

“We purchased the land a long time ago for road construction and never used it,” Reed said last week. “The adjacent property owner wants to buy it.”

• Keith Vlademar from the Fairfield Senior Citizen Center board asked the supervisors to allocate $6,000 to the center for fiscal year 2015. The county funded $5,000 last year.

He also said the center is looking to rent out the basement.

• Schmitz was appointed the county’s Safety Committee chairwoman.

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