By Steve Peterson
Two 2014-2015 budget presentations took place at the Jan. 7 Plymouth County Supervisors’ meeting.
“Each individual served by our agency received an estimated value of $889 in services. Our agency provided over $8,553,000 in services to 9,622 individuals in 3,517 households in our five county area,” said Dick Sievers, Director of Mid-Sioux Opportunity.
In Plymouth County, 2,677 individuals were served from 1,066 households, representing $2,379,853 value.
In Sioux County last year, 2,674 individuals were served, from 863 families, representing $2,388,186. For Hawarden, there were 454 people served in 160 households, receiving a value of $403,606; and in Ireton, 33 households with 86 people received a value of $76,454.
Other counties served by Remsen-based Mid-Sioux are Cherokee, Ida and Lyon.
Mid-Sioux requested $10,000 at Plymouth County and $15,000 from Sioux County supervisors. Plymouth County had a population of 24,986 while Sioux’s was 33,704, the two most populous counties served by Mid-Sioux Opportunity.
Individual cities also requested funds, including $1,000 from Akron and $250 from Westfield. Akron had 239 individuals served from 100 families while Westfield had 58 people served from 25 families.
“We bring a bit more in value to Plymouth County because our office is based here in Remsen with some 35 jobs,” said Sievers. “Some of the funds would come to the county anyway if Mid-Sioux was not here. The requests for our services has been down 10 percent because the economy has picked up nationally and fortunately in Northwest Iowa we did not experience the devastation that had been experienced elsewhere.”
“What we are finding though is that the families are fragile — that one doctor bill or a loss of income could set them back,” said Sievers. “We’re there to help with the Weatherization Program, with energy bills and other assistance.”
“We were impacted by last year’s sequester by the Federal government but we get support from both parties in Congress and the two-year spending bill before Congress looks like our funding will be stable,” said Sievers.
“All the staff at Mid-Sioux Opportunity are exemplary,” said Supervisor Don Kass, the Plymouth County liaison on the Mid-Sioux Board.
Sievers pointed out for every dollar the county gives to Mid-Sioux Opportunity, there is a $237 return.
“We get a great bang for the buck,” said Supervisor Jim Henrich.
The Fair Board, which governs the Plymouth County Fair held each July named “The Five Best Days of Summer” at the Fairgrounds in Le Mars, submitted a request for $28,000 in county funds, up from $20,000 in FY 2013-2014.
According to Plymouth County Fair Board President Tony Schroeder, who made the presentation, projects that need to be addressed include:
• Fencing along the front of the grandstand to increase safety for spectators, which has an estimated cost of $5,000 for materials and the labor cost is still pending.
• Re-roofing the 4-H exhibit building with new steel, a material cost of $18,000 with labor cost still pending; and
• Sand blasting and repainting the livestock show arena, which will cost about $12,000.
“We have a great Fair Board, that is very much a working Fair Board,” said Schroeder. “About 10 or 12 of us show up and do the work. We have high school students from Remsen Union come in and clean up the grounds at night.”
“We had a fantastic fair last summer and great weather,” he said. “We’ve secured the entertainment for this summer. We base it on one-fourth to one-half the cost of a ‘name’ show.”
Editor’s Note: One entertaining on the Pioneer Village stage last year, a five-member a cappella group called Pentatonix, just won “The Voice” television show contest.
“The livestock show arena was built in 1976 and needs work. We have to keep it (the Fairgrounds) up,” said Schroeder, adding the Fair Board had a debt of $90,000 after last year’s projects of the grandstand and round barn improvements.
• Supervisors voted 5-0 to approve a resolution and amendment for a Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council (SIMPCO) Hazard Mitigation Grant. The new deadline for the grant work is June 30.
“My concern is where are the additional funds going to come from,” said Emergency Services Director Gary Junge.
He was told the state or county would contribute.
Supervisors voted 5-0 to approve Shirley Burton of SIMPCO as the Plymouth County representative to Department of Homeland Security for the grant work. According to the document, Akron lost three persons in population, from 1,489 in 2000 to 1,486 in the 2010 Census while Westfield’s population went from 189 to 132.
Plymouth County Zoning Administrator Alan Lucken presented a rezoning request in Section 33 in Elgin Township for Larry Fiedler. Fiedler won approval for a zoning change for his business, Bob’s Bike Repairs, to expand to a site off Iowa Highway 60, north of Le Mars. The Zoning Board of Appeals met Dec. 30 and voted to recommend approval.
Lucken also gave a report on building permit activity in Plymouth County in 2013. He said the total value of permits was $20.4 million with 26 houses and 11 hog confinements built.
“It was about an average year,” said Lucken.
Rural Services Fund
The ending fund balance for the Rural Services Fund, which started the year with $1,295,770 and had $3,331,176 in expenditures and $2.487,442 in revenues, is $1,362,036.
For the Mental Health Fund, its total of $1,280,021 is a 55.34 percent decrease from 2013-2014. It started with a beginning fund balance of $619,719 and had expenses of $1,280,021 and revenues of $1,385,334 for an ending fund balance of $725.032. A Jan. 14 presentation to the board was expected by Central Point of Contact Sharon Nieman.
Secondary Road Fund was also to be presented at another budget talk by County Engineer Tom Rohe.
For the LOST Fund, expenses included November 2014 Jail Payment, $304,000; May 2015 Jail Payment, $,8,500; LOST Advisory Board, $200,000; Secondary Road Infrastructure, $500,000; Boring fiber to Secondary Road Office, if not all is paid in 2013-2014, $50,000; Conservation Board for River’s Bend project near Akron, $33,000; tower expenses, $5,000 estimate; total expenses, $1,100,500 and ending fund balance, $1,848,500.
Reserve within the fund balance, $500,000. Remaining fund balance not budgeted for, $1,349,500.
“The Conservation Board’s budget came in lower than a year ago prior to the $33,000 (for River’s Bend),” said Anderson.
Regarding the courthouse communications tower, it is only used for the Secondary Road office now.
“When we get the new Local Option Sales Tax in 2016, there is, as Guenthner has said, a $500,000 balance in the old one.”
The Plymouth County Law Enforcement Center and Jail need some painting work on the back, it was noted by Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo.
“The big picture is that we will have infrastructure money down the road for that fund. There is a debate who owns what on the tower,” said Anderson.