JCED makes FY 2021 funding request

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

Jones County Economic Development had a busy 2019, as reported by Director Derek Lumsden during the Jan. 28 Jones County Supervisor meeting. 

Lumsden assisted the City of Oxford Junction apply for a Catalyst Grant to renovate a building in their downtown. The idea is to have commercial space on the lower level, with housing on the second floor. 

He also worked with the cities of Monticello and Anamosa with downtown assessment reports. 

Lumsden said the biggest issue throughout the county is lack of childcare. 

“People are looking elsewhere because childcare is that important,” he explained of losing residents and workers to other nearby towns. 

Lumsden said while area community colleges offer childcare programs in their degree fields, it’s not an option at the regional centers like Kirkwood in Monticello. 

“It will be a crisis situation,” commented Supervisor Wayne Manternach. “It’s not just in the rural communities.” 

Lumsden said the state legislature needs to take a look at tweaking state regulations that negatively impact childcare facilities. 

Supervisor Joe Oswald inquired as to how much funding Monticello and Anamosa contribute toward JCED. Lumsden said the contracts between JCED and both cities stipulate $10,000 a year for three years. Fiscal Year 2021 would be the third year of that agreement. In addition, Cascade pays on a per capita basis, and Oxford Junction, Olin and Wyoming are currently not financially contributing toward JCED. 

Lumsden said he continues to visit the member businesses of JCED, collecting data and information. 

“We want to focus on agriculture, because they’ve never been a part of economic development,” said Lumsden. “I’m working with the Extension to do some ag outreach and let farmers know what we can do to help.” 

Oswald praised Lumsden for getting out and about around the county. 

“It seems you’re doing a very good job getting out and being visible,” he said. 

“Getting to every town is key, and we see you doing that,” added Manternach. 

Supervisor Jon Zirkelbach said in addition to his work in Jones County, Lumsden also serves on ECICOG. 

Manternach asked Lumsden what he sees as Jones County’s biggest concerns moving into 2020 and FY 2021. Lumsden said while manufacturing had slowed down a bit, it seems to be stabilizing now. He said lack of childcare options continues to be an issue all across the county. 

Some good news, though… Lumsden said there have been a number of prospects interested in Jones County for various reasons. 

“Having an airport is a huge asset,” he said of the Monticello regional airport. “We’re also a conduit between Cedar Rapids and Dubuque, and not just a bedroom community.” 

JCED is also encouraging young adults to look at job opportunities at home, here in Jones County. Lumsden conducted several manufacturing tours with the local high schools to expose students of the unique jobs available right here. 

Another concern for small towns is business owners aging out, something Lumsden said could happen in Monticello and Anamosa in the next five to 10 years. 

“That opens up options for entrepreneurs and people wanting to sell their businesses,” he said. 

JCED is requesting $40,000 from the county for FY 2021. 

In other county business: 

• The board approved a contract with The Wilson group in the amount of $476,500 for the courthouse window replacement project. Wilson was the lowest bid out of three. 

• The board approved a resolution establishing a committee to oversee a safety project associated with the closure of the Old Dubuque Road/130th Street and Highway 151 intersection. The county officials appointed to the committee include Supervisor Wayne Manternach, Sheriff Greg Graver, and County Engineer Derek Snead. 

• The board approved a request from Jason Bowers for a road separation waiver on Newport Road. Bowers plans to build a hog confinement facility less than 100 feet from the county roadway. 

Iowa Code stipulates 100 feet; Bowers wants to build 45 feet off the right of way due to the elevation and lay of the land. 

“It’s flatter closer to the road,” he said. 

The board said the only concern would be a future Secondary Road project on Newport Road. Snead said nothing is in the works. 

“The likelihood of doing something on this road is pretty slim,” said Snead. 


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