Supervisors ask Lutheran Services to find new home
Jefferson County Board of Supervisors Monday asked the county attorney’s office to send a letter of 30 days to vacate to Lutheran Services, which has been using the top floor of the county attorney’s office for storage of Parents as Teachers program materials.
Stephanie Bard, representing the Early Childhood Services with Lutheran Services Decategorization, attended Monday’s board meeting.
“I’m new to the area and this position,” she said. “We have three workers in the area,” who access the materials being stored.
“It’s not my intention to step on anyone’s toes,” said Bard. “We’re looking for another space.”
Last week, supervisor Becky Schmitz had said when Southern Iowa Economic Development Association lost the contract, materials stored at SIEDA had been moved out.
Monday, supervisor chairman Lee Dimmitt asked Bard how soon those materials could be moved out of the county building.
“How soon do you need us out?” said Bard.
Dimmitt said probably the sooner the better.
“If there is no time frame, it can drag on and then it becomes something of a deal,” said supervisor Dick Reed. “We’re not real happy it happened the way it did. But we’re compassionate people, we don’t want to kick you out on the street.”
Dimmitt said the board had several concerns.
“If we allow a nonprofit corporation to use county space upstairs, and it’s not handicap accessible, because we didn’t remodel the building with an intent to use the upstairs beyond storage . . . ,” he said.
Last week, the issue of subletting was raised, which if the county charged rent for the space, which it has not, would put the building on the tax rolls. Issues of security and safety also were mentioned.
“It’s not about your program, it’s our legal concerns,” Dimmitt said to Bard about the 30 days to vacate notice.
Reed and Dimmitt approved the notice. Schmitz was absent from Monday’s supervisors meeting.
In other business, the supervisors approved the Hazard Mitigation Plan grant application documents.
Matt Bauman, Hazard Mitigation coordinator with Area 15 Regional Planning, brought paperwork to the supervisors Monday.
“It’s a long process,” said Bauman. “Funding is there, and these funds we’re applying for are required for certain Federal Emergency Management Agency funding to be released if the president declares a disaster area. Jefferson County has a five-year plan, and it doesn’t expire until January 2016, but the plan itself takes a while to get through approval stages and has to go through a certain amount of meetings.”
The first step is notice of intent to apply, said Bauman.
“You don’t need to budget anything for this, it requires a local match, but that is accounted for in volunteer hours at the rate of $27.60 per hour,” said Bauman. “Local officials attending the meetings and planning stages are considered volunteering or donating their time, and that’s how the local match of $6,000 is accounted for.”
Bauman said at planning meetings with local officials, each hazard that could affect Jefferson County and vulnerable populations are accounted for.
“We work with the county assessor to acquire property replacement values,” he said.
Jefferson County Engineer Scott Cline said hazards include two rail lines and a few pipelines that run through the county.
Bauman said grants are being made to build safe rooms, bury overhead utility lines, purchase property in flood plains, buy sirens and generators to prepare for various natural disasters.
Reed reported the Southeast Iowa Multi-County Solid Waste Agency landfill in Richland had a fire the previous week.
“It was a small fire and the local fire department got it out,” said Reed.
Cline reported part of Mint Boulevard had additional rock and dust control added recently, partially funded by Fairfield and the Jefferson County Trails Council.
Dimmitt said he’d received a call before the meeting Monday about 185th Street off Highway 1.
“The caller said the edges of the road are breaking off due to heavy grain carts,” said Dimmitt. “Are there any weight or width restrictions on that road? No signs are posted.”
Cline said he’d looked at 185th Street a few weeks ago and didn’t notice any edges breaking. He said he’d have to check if there are restrictions of weight or vehicle width.
The supervisors planned a road tour after the board meeting and added 185th Street to the list to visit.
Audience member Tracy Vance, executive director of Fairfield Economic Development Association, reminded everyone about a lunch-and-learn at noon Oct. 29 at Walton Club.
“It’s open to everyone and will be informative about commercial property tax reform,” said Vance. “Businesses are going to need to sign up by Jan. 15.”
Jefferson County Assessor Sheri Blough Neff will discuss the commercial property tax reform approved by the state legislature and answer questions.
Contact Vance at FEDA at 472-3436 or email at email@example.com to make lunch reservations.