Supervisors approve resolution on noxious weeds
The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors approved final plats for two subdivisions today as well as a resolution for the destruction of noxious weeds.
Both subdivisions had been under discussion by the supervisors at previous meetings, and the board had asked respective representatives to return with changes or updates.
The Schaefer Subdivision needed a driveway permit, which is now on file with the county engineers office.
“Liberty Subdivision is being proposed at the end of another subdivision [West Hills], and you have an easement to use the private road,” said Supervisor Dick Reed. “Legally, there is nothing the board of supervisors can do, but also as supervisors, people talk to us about concerns. It’s not up to our board [now that the easement is in writing] but I don’t want to create a bucket of worms down the road.”
Audience member Doug Alexander introduced himself as president of West Hills Homeowners Association.
“No one in West Hills is against Bob [Houghner] creating a subdivision,” he said. “We just want to have those homeowners share the costs for the road. Each year, West Hills homeowners pay an annual assessment for the road for maintenance. We want Liberty homeowners to share equally in paying the assessment.”
Supervisor chairman Lee Dimmitt said the jurisdiction of the supervisors is only for the road easement, “And now, we have that.”
Assistant county attorney Pat McAvan agreed.
“In terms of access, that question is answered,” he said.
Alexander and Houghner said there would be further communication between the two and an agreement could be reached about road maintenance fees.
Noxious weed control
The county resolution for noxious weed destruction groups weeds into two deadlines to “cut or otherwise destroy, on or before the following dates and as often as it is necessary to prevent seed production:”
• May 15 — Leafy Spurge, Hoary Cress (perennial peppergrass), Curly Dock (sour dock), Smooth Dock, Red Sorrel (sheep sorrel), Canada Thistle, Russian Knapweed, Buckhorn Plantain, Wild Mustard, Multiflora Rose, Teasel, Perennial Sowthistle, Buckhorn, Quackgrass, Purple Loosestrife, Poison Hemlock and Musk Thistle.
• June 15 — Field Bindweed, Wild Carrot, Wild Sunflower, Cocklebur, Bull Thistle, Water Hemp, Horsenettle, Puncturevine, Velvetleaf (butterprint) and Shattercane.
The resolution also says: “That each owner and each person in the possession or control of any lands in Jefferson County infested with the primary noxious weeds including, Quack Grass, Perennial Sowthistle, Canada Thistle, Bull Thistle, Teasel, Field Bindweed, Horsenettle, Leafy Spurge, Perennial Peppergrass, Russian Knapweed, Wild Sunflower, Poison Hemlock and Musk Thistle, shall adopt a program of weed destruction, described by the weed commissioner which in five years may be expected to destroy and will immediately keep under control such infestation of said noxious weeds. “
Reed and Dimmitt asked Dan Miller, Jefferson County weed commissioner and registered sanitarian, how he finds noxious weeds.
“I get calls and complaints, and I look around as I drive the county roads,” he said. “I’ll call the property owner, or if I see someone outside while I’m driving and see the weeds, I’ll stop and talk with them.”
Landowners own property to the middle of a county road, Miller said.
“Legally, owners are responsible for maintenance to the middle of the road, but the county does mow and spray, but we can’t get to all the roads all at the same time,” said Miller.
“In Fairfield, the city owns the roads, and the city has its own ordinances about lawn mowing and weed control,” he said.
Dimmitt said he doesn’t see the need to inform a property owner with noxious weeds about who made the complaint, if one is made.
Judicial Magistrate Appointing Commission
The board of supervisors appointed Susan Rubis of Fairfield to the Judicial Magistrate Appointing Commission today.
“The supervisors are responsible for appointing three members to this commission,” said Dimmitt.
McAvan said the appointment of commission members is shared with the local bar association.
“We appoint two attorneys, who are not prosecutors, to the commission,” said McAvan. “Supervisors appoint three members who cannot be attorneys.
“This commission is responsible for appointing a magistrate judge, and it also conducts the initial interviews for associate district judges,” he said.
Benny Waggoner is the current magistrate judge of the Eighth Judicial District in Iowa with jurisdiction in Jefferson County. Crystal Cronk is the associate district court judge.
An audience member asked if Rubis was involved with Jefferson County Farmers and Neighbors Inc., described on its website as “a tax-exempt educational association.”
“I know her husband is involved with JFAN, and I’ve seen her at meetings, but I don’t know how involved she is,” said the audience member.
Reed said the supervisors make many decisions, and not everyone will be happy with each decision.
“We need to be gender-balanced in appointments, and Susan, as former head of the Department of Human Services has worked with many in the judicial system,” said Reed. “She is replacing Ted Danielson, who is stepping down before his term expires in 2014.”
Employee medical insurance
Dimmitt said county employee medical insurance costs are increasing slightly. The employee premiums would see a 5.3 percent increase, which the supervisors had already agreed to cover, leaving the employees’ premium rates the same.
“Now, we have a re-insurance tax added for implementation of the Obama health care plan effective Jan. 1, 2014,” said Dimmitt.
For six months of the fiscal year 2014 (January-June), the re-insurance tax is $8,329 for Jefferson County. It would require about a 2 percent increase in medical premiums for county employees.
“I see this as the employer being taxed, and the county could pay for this,” said Dimmitt. “I think we should absorb this cost, but we’ll have to be careful because we don’t know what it will be the following year.
“In our class size of number of employees, we cannot asses more than 9 percent of a household’s income,” said Dimmitt.
Reed and Dimmitt agreed for the county to pay the re-insurance tax for fiscal year 2014. Supervisor Becky Schmitz was absent today.