Amber speed limit sign proposed to come down

Board of Supervisors
By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The Hula Hoop Tree in Amber has been down for quite some time, since early May. When the tree was in place, an additional 35mph speed limit sign was installed west of Amber near the intersection of County Road X-44. That essentially extended the lower speed zone.

     During the Oct. 6 Jones County Supervisor meeting, County Engineer Derek Snead proposed removing that additional sign now that traffic flows freely through that area and spectators no longer stop and park along the roadway to see the Hula Hoop Tree.

     “It helped to reduce the speed limit for safety concerns,” Snead said as to the purpose of the additional sign.

     Removing the sign will allow the roadway to go back to how it was previously signed at 55mph.

     “Signs are for uniformity,” Snead explained. “It’s a regulatory and enforcement issue. Enforcement would be difficult.”

     The supervisors will consider removing the speed limit sign through a resolution at its Oct. 13 board meeting.

In other county business:

     Emergency Management Coordinator Brenda Leonard informed the board that she did not win her appeal through FEMA regarding individual assistance stemming from the Aug. 10 derecho.

     “Four counties appealed and one got it because they had destroyed homes,” explained Leonard. “The other three did not (including Jones County).”

     Aside from zero destroyed homes in Jones County, the appeal was also based on major damage and those homeowners who were under-insured or not insured. The guidelines are all based on FEMA regulations.

     • Jenna Lovaas, Public Health coordinator, reported 322 positive COVID-19 cases since March in Jones County. As of Oct. 6, there were 120 active cases, with a 10 percent positivity rate.

     “It’s getting a little high,” she warned. “It’s all over the county, but Monticello usually gets hit harder, and could be thanks to the unofficial Homecoming party that was organized a couple of weeks ago.”

     Lovaas said all of the schools in the county are switching guidelines to follow the new Iowa Department of Public Health rules pertaining to those who need to be quarantined or not.

     “We still need to work through procedures and policies,” she said.

     • The board approved change orders relating to the courthouse window-replacement project: $13,192 for paint and plaster work; $1,127 to finish out the walls and door in the Sheriff’s Office waiting area; and $23,787 re-caulking and power washing.

     • County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections Janine Sulzner reported that 62 people showed up to vote in-person on Monday, Oct. 5, the first day of in-person absentee voting in Iowa.

     “That’s close to our record high,” she said.

     Sulzner’s office mailed out 3,753 absentee ballots, also on Oct. 5. That’s three-times more than were mailed out previous general elections.

     Sulzner said she expects to see 10,000 to 11,000 votes cast in Jones County for the Nov. 3 election. That would be a 70 percent voter turnout.

     • The board approved a $25,000 five-year contract with Neapolitan Labs for a new county website. This requires 50 percent down payment, with the balance due upon completion of the website.

     IT Coordinator Lisa Mootz said the website committee voted 5-2 to go with Neapolitan Labs. There will also be $1,500 a year of on-going maintenance costs.

     • The board approved partial acquisition for right of way on Lead Mine Road from Amanda and Jason Ruggles at a cost of $11,500.

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