Supervisors approve subdivision plan
Liberty Subdivision Phase II was approved by the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors Monday after owner Robert Hougher returned for the second week with requested revisions.
Last week, Hougher presented his plans for expanding the subdivision at 32nd Street on the north side of Libertyville Road, adding seven lots for sale for development. West Hills Drive goes to his own residence and another privately owned road, 55-feet wide and a cul-de-sac, would be constructed for the new development.
The supervisors wanted the cul-de-sac dimensions checked by Fairfield fire chief Scott Vaughan to make sure it was large enough for fire trucks to turn around.
Supervisor chairman Steve Burgmeier also wanted the proposed private road to be widened to the county public road standard of 66 feet.
Vaughan approved the proposed cul-de-sac. Hougher brought new drawings showing the road widened to 66 feet.
Supervisor Dick Reed asked the road was constructed with and who maintains it.
“It’s lime chips and we have a home owners association,” said Hougher. “Everyone living out there throws a payment into the kitty annually and road maintenance will be paid out of that.”
The three supervisors approved the development plans.
Enterprise Zone tax credits
Tracy Vance, executive director of Fairfield Economic Development Association, asked the supervisors to approve a state tax credit for new work to be done on standing housing.
“We have an application to amend the Enterprise Zone at Jackson Apartments where the new owners want to renovate and upgrade those apartments,” he said. “Amendments are allowed when there’s been a change in ownership name or if tax credits will create additional investment in the property.”
Burgmeier said the area was approved as an Enterprise Zone in 2004 initially.
The tax credit would be for five years and can be up to 10 percent of the investment.
“This is a state income tax credit,” said Vance. “It will have no local impact on taxes.”
A second project in the Enterprise Zone is a new street-paving project, which the supervisors also approved for the tax credit.
Street project assessments
Engineer Melanie Carlson of French-Reneker Associates Inc. brought assessment agreements for this summer’s street paving projects on 227th Street and West Grimes Avenue. Total cost for both roadwork projects, including construction and an estimate of bonding attorney was $346,272.
Assessments were set at 10.8 percent for West Grimes Avenue and 4.5 percent on 227th Street.
David Thebodo, part owner of AmericInn Hotel, attending the supervisors meeting asked, “Who maintains 227th Street, the city or county?”
Reed said he didn’t think any jurisdiction had changed.
“It seems the county would take care of it,” Reed said.
Thebodo asked about getting a flashing yellow traffic light at the intersection of 227th Street and Highway 1 or lowering the speed from 55 mph.
“Guests have said it’s scary to pull out into traffic because it goes so fast,” he said.
Any traffic regulations such as those are the state’s jurisdiction, supervisors told him.
“Scott [Cline, county engineer] and I attended the South Iowa Area Conservation Authority meeting in Centerville,” said Reed. “We only have $51,000 left to spend among our 10 counties. If it doesn’t get funded this year, the board will probably disband.
“We do have $600,000 in the bank to pay for projects already on the table for the next two to three years.”
SIACA is a 10-county entity concerned with soil and water conservation funded by the state and started by the Legislature. It funds removal of old bridges or culverts in need of repair or with soil erosion surrounding them.
“We remove the old bridges and install new culverts or install a dam creating ponds,” said Reed. “That stops soil erosion and provides a watering hole for wildlife. Culverts and dams don’t have to be maintained like bridges.”
Supervisor Lee Dimmitt said the substance abuse group is working with local schools, including Maharishi School, about preventing and educating about substance abuse.
“We want to be proactive and get students involved to bring heightened awareness to the subject,” he said.
Dimmitt also said Southern Iowa Economic Development Association is likely to have its Head Start program funding cut by 8.5 to 8.75 percent.
“Head Start is making a contingency plan,” he said. “It costs $7,000 to $7,200 per child to attend Head Start. If the funding is cut as anticipated, Jefferson County’s Head Start could be serving 25 fewer children.
“They’ve looked at cutting staff hours, but they’d have trouble meeting the needs at less than 40 hours a week,” said Dimmitt. “They’ve cut materials, field trips and are looking at ways to lower employee benefits’ costs.”
Cline brought a few estimates he’d received on pick-up trucks. He’d like to purchase a new truck and trade in his department’s 1992 Ford Aerostar van.
“The lowest of three quotes with all the features I requested was $30,500, for a 2013 Chevy,” he said. “That’s from Vaughan Automotive in Ottumwa. A GMC would cost $500 more.”
Cline also had quotes of $30,400 from Shottenkirk in Mount Pleasant, but the model didn’t include all the features he was looking for; and $31,282 from Fesler in Fairfield.
“I’d like to see you take the features you want and take it back to Fesler Auto Mall and see what he can do,” said Reed. “I’d prefer spending the money in Jefferson County.”
The regular weekly meeting for the board of supervisors, usually held on Mondays, will move to Wednesday next week because Monday is Christmas Eve.