By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
During their regular meeting on June 12, the Jones County Board of Supervisors voted to postpone the adoption of the proposed 2012 Jones County Comprehensive Plan until Tuesday, July 3.
The Board had full intention of adopting the plan on June 12. Per Iowa Code chapter 335.5, the Board is required to publish notice of the date of the meeting they intend to take action and adopt the comprehensive plan. At their May 29 meeting, the Board voted to set June 12 to adopt the plan.
County Auditor Janine Sulzner e-mailed the notice to all three of the county newspapers. All three papers acknowledged receipt of the notice with the intent to publish.
The week before the plan was to be adopted, Sulzner noted that the notice did not appear in the Anamosa Journal-Eureka. She said the paper confirmed on June 11 that it was not published in their paper.
Sulzner talked with County Attorney Phil Parsons regarding the matter. Sulzner said Parsons indicated the county had “substantially complied with the code requirement for public notice,” referring to notice in two of the three county newspapers. Parsons offered that the Board of Supervisors could proceed with action of the plan as they intended, or they could reschedule action at a future meeting, with notice published again.
Supervisor Ned Rohwedder had additional changes he wanted to see made to the plan, of which the Board voted to approve during the meeting.
When it came down to making a decision to approve the plan, the Board was split. Supervisor Wayne Manternach said, “We did all we could by the book. I side with Phil (Parsons) on this and would like to see it put to rest.”
The Board also received e-mails from county residents regarding the plan. Supervisor Leo Cook said there is not a deadline to approve the plan and said they could take some more time to read the additional information.
“I value the county attorney’s opinion,” said Rohwedder. “But we have a good turnout here today of people who expect a vote on this.” There were about 20 people in the Supervisor Board room during the meeting.
Some members of the public who were present presented the Board with a copy of Gov. Terry Branstad’s signed proclamation, dated June 6, 2012. In this proclamation, Branstad reaffirmed the rights of all citizens, noting that there are certain goals of the United Nations’ Agenda 21 that conflict with a person’s rights. (In past Board meetings, people have said that the Comprehensive Plan coincides with Agenda 21.)
It has been noted that while public surveys were available concerning the plan, only 55 people filled out and returned them to the county.
“Did you consider sending surveys out to everyone in the county?” asked Tina Vondran of Monticello. “Can you honestly cast a vote by a true representation of what Jones County wants?” Vondran said with 55 surveys, she doesn’t see that as a representation of how the county feels.
Supervisor Keith Dirks informed those present that surveying the public is not the county’s process in developing a comprehensive plan.
“We can’t survey the public on each issue,” said Dirks. “This is representative government. We followed strict guidelines to develop this plan and a lot of time was put into this.”
Some of those present expressed that the public did not get the chance to voice their concerns or thoughts on the plan. The Board held multiple public hearings and allowed the public to speak during Board meetings when the topic of the plan came up.
In other county news:
• County Engineer Mike McClain updated the Board on the Business 151 North project in Monticello. The crews started earlier last week with the asphalt overlay. McClain expected the project to be done within a week with shoulder work remaining.
• The County Clerk’s Report showed fees were collected for three Social Host Ordinance violations. One of the violators was a repeat offender.
• The Board approved the plans for the dike in Olin. McClain said the letting date will be Tuesday, July 10, at 9:30 a.m. in the Board Room. The estimated cost for the project is around $43,000.
• The Board approved a right-of-way contract with Felton Farms on County Road D-65. The county needs a little over 5 acres from the Feltons for the road project. The new road will disturb the Feltons’ reservoir system, of which McClain said will be replaced. The estimate to replace the system, around $25,000, was added the ROW purchase price.
• Lisa Tallman, Senior Dining, and Timm Getty, Heritage Area Agency on Aging, met with the Board to review the annual contract for the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program (Senior Dining).
The Board was curious with the budget cuts where Senior Dining is concerned.
“We don’t want to have to cut services,” expressed Dirks.
“What I am getting is as high as they can provide,” said Tallman of the funding from Heritage.
“This is a good program and the cities in Jones County could work with us,” said Dirks. “We’re doing everything on our end.”
• JETS Administrator Kathy Koerperich met with Board to discuss employee pay rates. Koerperich said her drivers are not getting paid what they should be. She’d like to see step raises in place to help build their wages. Koerperich said she also wants to attract applicants for drivers, as some of her current drivers are getting older.
The Board advised Koerperich to work with Sulzner on coming up with a proposal for wage increases to present to the Board for approval.