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With the offer from Washington’s Federation Bank to sell its four-story building to the county for $1.6 million meeting positive opinion from county voters, the supervisors Tuesday agreed with the single frequent comment made to them, “that it’s a no-brainier” as a gain for the county.
Both supervisors Stan Stoops and Jack Seward Jr. reported receiving public opinion that the county should take the offer and that that amount of space (a full city block) at the price is a “good deal.” He had obtained some input at two Listening Post meetings and will have another Thursday in Wellman.
Supervisor Bob Yoder stressed the building’s first floor has no steps making it easily accessed, and the space would afford far more office privacy than the current courthouse space does.
He added that if the building were sold to someone else, “there is a good chance Public Health would have to leave.” He indicated an equal amount of space could be far more expensive.
Chairman Abe Miller and supervisor Richard Young agreed that, for the price, the county could not find or build that kind of space.
Miller, noting “we have a little time yet,” moved to have the item for a possible decision on next week’s agenda.
Another building issue was presented by Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson and Kalona City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh for a county housing demand study to address both higher and low-to-moderate income residents.
The survey would be done this summer and fall, and the group is requesting $3,500 from the county to help fund the project. The county has supported such effort in the past. Hinson noted that assisting with one house brings in sufficient funds to pay the cost in five years.
Hinson noted that the group is in the process of hiring a consultant to help design the plan, and Schlabaugh stressed it will consider all income levels with a view of setting exactly what percentage is needed to assist the low income residents.
Both Hinson and Schlabaugh asked for a work session between the county and the involved groups. Miller suggested 11 a.m., June 5, following the regular meeting with possible action the following week. The board agreed. The target date for the survey completion is Dec. 15.
In other business, the board:
• Acknowledged the April recycling report showing 71.8 in tonnage, an increase of 43 tons from last year. Manager Lynn Whaley reported that the site’s drive at Lexington Boulevard needs to be paved, something to be done Wednesday, then introduced Joe Skaff of Iowa City Carton, who detailed problems in selling recyclable materials since “China stopped buying: leaving the five recycling plants in Iowa filled with flattened and baled plastic. “They used to move 22 million pounds per month. Now, it’s just 7 million,” he said. He added that China has banned all purchase of U.S. plastics, and the other markets in Asia do not buy in the same quantity. He said it is not just Iowa, “We are all on the same ground, there is no hidden market anywhere.” The other issue is that plants that accept the recyclables, including mixed paper, will charge for doing it.
• Acknowledged a possible 1,667 animal units swine confinement feeding operation for Aller Acres Farms in 76 Township.
• Approved a fireworks permit for the Richmond Shooters for the fireworks display at Shiloh July 4.
• Approved hiring Corey Malicky, equipment operator for the engineering department, at $21.04 hourly, effective June 1.
• Approved termination of Michael Burrill, county subdivision coordinator, effective May 14. He left for other employment.
• Approved a secondary roads use request from the Washington American Legion Post 29 for a ceremony on the bridge on old Highway 92 to honor veterans.
• Approved changing the meeting time from 9:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. starting with the June 5 meeting, a return to the original meeting time, for the month. If there are no problems, it will stay at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays.