County agrees to join Maquoketa WMA

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     During the Dec. 20 Jones County Supervisors meeting, the board approved a 28E agreement between the county and the Maquoketa River Watershed Management Authority (WMA).

     At the previous board meeting, Monticello City Clerk Doug Herman presented the WMA concept to the board, asking the county to become a member of the WMA. The board chose to wait on taking any action until County Attorney Phil Parsons looked over the 28E agreement.

     “It’s pretty bare bones,” observed Parsons of the agreement. He advised the supervisors that the WMA board itself could consist of upwards of 100 board members, depending on who joined.

     “It could be a massive entity,” he warned.

     Parsons said the 28E was a legal starting point for the WMA. He said the county did have the ability to opt out if they so choose.

     “There could be some money involved legally,” he said if the county left the organization. “But legally I don’t see any problems.”

     Parsons said once the WMA board was established, they would put together a set of by-laws that could clean up a lot of language within the 28E.

     “That may be a better time to say whether this would be a good fit or not,” Parsons offered.

     Parsons admitted he was not in favor of 28E agreements because of the “regional power they hold.”

     Brian Wolken, a member of the Monticello City Council and WMA representative, told the board it would be better to join than not at this point.

     “It allows access to federal funds and gives assistance to farmers,” he said. “It provides some options, with minimal risks.”

     Supervisor Wayne Manternach said he felt this was a good time to join the WMA, “getting in on the ground level.”

     Supervisor Joe Oswald agreed to represent the county on the WMA board.

     After multiple county employees voiced their objections to the 2017 county holiday schedule, the board voted to amend their previous decision.

     During the Dec. 6 meeting, the board approved closing the courthouse on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, and opening back up on Tuesday, Dec. 26. Many of the employees felt that having the day after Christmas off is better suited versus the Friday before.

     County Treasurer Amy Picray surveyed the county employees and found that the majority preferred the day after Christmas off versus the latter.

     “Some people have to travel, and it’s nice to have that time,” expressed Picray.

     “I like having the Tuesday after Christmas off,” said Recorder Sheri Jones. “It’s a decompression day.”

     County Auditor Janine Sulzner warned the employees that if the county went with Picray’s recommendation, it could affect holiday pay.

     Despite the courthouse being closed, district court and the Clerk of Court’s office would remain open.

     While the board acknowledged the overwhelming consensus by employees to see a change in the holiday schedule, Supervisor Ned Rohwedder was opposed.

     “As far as travel,” said Rohwedder, “people can take a personal day to make that adjustment.”

In other county business:

     • The board set Jan. 24 and Jan. 31 as days to meet with department heads regarding budget preparations following the regular board meetings.

     • After meeting with Land Use Administrator Michele Lubben and Assistant County Attorney Michael Lang regarding a civil citation that was issued against property at 13554 114th St. in Center Junction, the board directed Lubben to visit to site to verify that the structure is at least 10 feet from the property line. The owner has been in violation of the county’s setback ordinance.

     • An ongoing nuisance violation at 10750 Highway 64 in Wyoming will perhaps see a resolution. For several months, Lubben and Lang have been working to determine who the owner of the property truly is.

     A violation was issued against Federal Home Loan Mortgage, who at one time owned the property. However, Lang said the property is back in the hand of Marilyn Atwood, a former owner. However, he informed the board that it has been impossible to get in contact with Atwood.

     The board decided to dismiss the violation against Federal Home Loan, and proceed in trying to track down Atwood.

     • A public hearing was set for Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 9:15 a.m. for a re-zoning request for a parcel in Lovell Township. The owner, Badger Hawk LLC wishes to re-zone C2-Highway Commercial from Agricultural.

     • The board approved abating a nuisance on property located at 23043 County Road E-34.

     They also granted a 30-day extension for property located at 2696 County Road X-64.

     A public hearing was set for Jan. 10 at 9:30 a.m. for a nuisance located at 12478 St. Paul St. in Center Junction.

     • The board placed on file petitions with 1,972 signatures requesting the preservation of Ely Stone Bridge.

     • It was the consensus of the board to use 1 percent increase as a guideline for county departments when putting together their operating budget for the next fiscal year.

     • Supervisor Jon Zirkelbach agreed to represent the board on the Wapsipinicon Trail Committee.

     With grant money and funds coming through the county for the project, County Auditor Janine Sulzner advised a member of the board should be a part of the committee.


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