Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 22, 2017

Van Buren board talks veterans, fireworks

By Rusty Ebert, Ledger correspondent | May 17, 2017

KEOSAUQUA – Van Buren County Supervisors discussed a new veterans’ program,  the new state fireworks law and damage to county roads from horses during its regular meeting May 8.

• Representatives of Home Base Iowa were present to update the board on Home Base Iowa veterans programs, initiatives, and how to become a home base community.

Home Base Iowa communities are committed to welcome transitioning military members and their families leaving military service to become Iowans. The HBI communities initiative designates communities as centers of opportunity for military veterans and further highlights Iowa’s statewide commitment to welcoming and employing veterans.

The program encourages communities and businesses to create an incentive package, have a certain number of Home Base Iowa businesses and provide signage locations. Currently, there are some businesses already considered Home Base Iowa businesses, including Hill Phoenix, Caseys, 8th Judicial District and Ideal Ready Mix.

Supervisors favored this and thought the Veterans’ Affairs office should be the contact office.

• Supervisor Ted Nixon said that the board will have to decide how it wants to handle the fireworks law that was passed by the legsislature. Gov. Terry Branstad signed it into law. It  ends a longstanding ban on retail fireworks sales in Iowa, making consumer fireworks available each year from June 1 through July 8, and again from Dec. 10 through Jan. 3. The legislation prohibits sales to minors, allows local governments to restrict fireworks use and provide fireworks safety education to the public. Nixon wanted to bring this to the attention of supervisors since it gives each county the right to restrict fireworks use and that applications for businesses to sell will approach fast. Supervisors took the matter under advisement.

• Van Buren County Engineer Ryne Thornburg was present to update the board on various road projects and issues including equipment purchases, trip permits, bond approval on J40 overlay project, various construction projects, dust control, and crack sealing.

Thornburg discussed road damage to J40 west of Lebanon. After further study, he said the road has been damaged from horseshoes fitted with carbide tips.

The carbide tips help with traction, but  they also pull up chunks of blacktop during the hot, summer months, he added.  Cost to fix ruts left from the carbide tips west of Lebanon with slurry seal is estimated at $52,000, Thornburg said. There is no definite time frame, though it could be done in late June or July. When trying to come up with a solution, this was the least costly alternative that would help the most, he said. “It’s a little experimental, very similar to what the DOT did on Highway 2. “There is no real good solution.”

Thornburg said he is considering discussing the matter with the Amish bishops to make them aware of the problem and come up with an amicable solution. “Perhaps the Amish community would agree not to use the carbide tips during the summer,” Thornburg said.

• Thornburg said there were 199 permits for dust control issued, which is nearly exactly the amount from a year ago, 200. The county places dust control on the road from the county quarry to Pittsburg. Thornburg said this year, instead of calcium chloride, secondary roads is trying a different method, one that uses a soy oil product. Typically, two calcium chloride applications are needed, but this product would only need to be applied once, he said. “Still, it’s little more costly,” Thornburg said. “

• Van Buren County Auditor Jon Finney asked Thornburg about crack sealing the road to the former county home.

• Thornburg updated the board on possible purchases of brush cutters. Waugh said he is not opposed to purchasing the brush cutters, “the problem I have is workers using the brush cutters  as a way to level shoulders.” Thornburg said he agreed.

Thornburg also said he was getting prices on two pickups. Thornburg and supervisors also discussed inventory of equipment.

• The board approved the following VBC Secondary Road personnel being authorized to issue and sign special permits for the movement of vehicles of excessive size and weight upon Van Buren County Secondary Roads in accordance with said Chapter 321E: County Engineer, Assistant to the Engineer, Office Manager.  The resolution amends a previous one which  authorizes only certain named individuals.

• The board chairman was authorized to sign, on behalf of the county, a contractor’s bond with Norris Asphalt Paving, LC on a J40 overlay construction project.

• Supervisor Chairman Mark Meek also discussed the road condition south of Stockport.

• Ryanne Wood, CEO of the Southeast Iowa Link (SEIL), was present to discuss mental health related issues, including updated SEIL 28E agreement and answer questions.  A resolution was approved authorizing board member Mark G. Meek to sign a finalized Amended Southeast Iowa Link (SEIL) Region 28E agreement on behalf of Van Buren County with other area counties that are members of the SEIL MH region. It was a 2-1 vote with Meek and Nixon voting yes and Waugh voting no. Meek said he appreciated Wood spending the time and explaining the changes and issues. Waugh said he didn’t feel “comfortable” voting for the 28E agreement. “I’m not opposed, I just don’t understand it all.”

• The board acknowledged the second reading of Van Buren County Ordinance No. 2013-2, Amendment #4, “Mt. Sterling Sewer Rate Ordinance” to read in its entirety was waived on motion by Nixon, seconded by Waugh.

• The board approved a proclamation proclaiming the month of May as Cemetery Appreciation Month in Van Buren County.

• On the recommendation of the county sheriff, Kathy  Countryman, Birmingham, was appointed as a PT Dispatcher/Jailer, effective April 29, 2017, at a salary of $16.63/hour.


• The county treasurer was authorized to assess special assessment liens against the following property owners in the former city of Mt. Sterling for delinquent sewer accounts: 1) Kimmarie Robison -$163.74,  2) Brad Smith $163.74, 3) John Smith -$163.74, 4) Donald Butner -$163.74.

• The board approved a request from D Bar D Rodeo Productions, RR, Bonaparte, for a five-day Class B beer permit, including wine coolers and outdoor service.

• The board approved a resolution that the Van Buren County Board of Supervisors invest management of county owned property in the unincorporated town of Douds and Leando to the Van Buren County Conservation Board for the purposes of public access to the Des Moines River .

and existing boat ramp and to develop other improvements on said property as the Van Buren County Conservation Board deems appropriate. Vote was 2-1, with Waugh voting no. He said he preferred selling the land.

• The board set a public hearing date on amendments to the current 2017FY county budget for 11 a.m. on Monday, May 22, at the board room.

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