By Steve Peterson
Sherry Sitzmann of Le Mars was appointed by the Plymouth County Supervisors to fill out Linda Dobson’s unexpired term, which expires Dec. 31.
Supervisors voted unanimously to appoint Sitzmann on Feb. 18. Then Judge Steven J. Andreasen gave Sitzmann her Oath-of-Office. Dobson, who retired effective Feb. 17, had served in the treasurer’s office since 1979 as an employee and since 2000 she has been elected county treasurer.
“I have been in banking for the last 15 years at American National Bank as a senior operations officer. Before that I owned a child clothing store in Le Mars and worked in bookkeeping,” said Sitzmann. “I thought the County Treasurer position would be interesting and a new challenge. Dobson will be of great service and guidance and the staff is very knowledgeable and capable.”
Sitzmann and her husband, Ray, have four children, ages 19 to 28. Both Ray and Sherry are alumni of Gehlen Catholic High School in Le Mars.
As for the election, Sitzmann will have to decide in March if she wishes to file papers for a June primary and then the November election.
In other county business:
“There was a meeting of the 911 Board on Feb. 5 and we discussed the Next Generation of 911 costs. The State is offering $50,000 for equipment to a county who will step up and implement it. It may seem like a lot of money but the Communications Center radio costs $250,000; a new voice recorder, $35,000. There is substantial cost involved. That’s why the 911 Board stopped supplying radios to fire departments and police car vehicles,” said Supervisor Craig Anderson, the county supervisor liaison to the 911 Board.
Another topic was the potential future printing of county maps. It was noted the Plymouth County 911 Board is also represented on the Woodbury County 911 Board due to a cross-over of land in the Kingsley area.
A Siouxland Metropolitan Planning Council (SIMPCO) meeting was held regarding a proposed bike trail and Anderson and County Engineer Tom Rohe attended.
“We’re in declining revenue in part because of cell phone usage, that fee goes to the state for their infrastructure and we get some periodically,” said Anderson.
Bike Trail update
“Iowa Heritage Foundation was there. They would like a $20 million overpass over Iowa Highway 75. One problem is that the right-of-way from Merrill to Le Mars is crowded and it would take $12,000 to install county signs but we told them that Plymouth County is not interested (in paying for the cost of the signs),” said Anderson.
“No one has a firm number on it yet but the number $20 million was mentioned. They do have six miles of right-of-way along the old Chicago and Northwestern Railroad along Highway 75; they would like to go from Sioux City to Merrill to Le Mars and on to Orange City and Okoboji,” said Anderson. “It will take a lot of money.”
Housing Trust Fund
The Western Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund (WIRHTF) met and has been awarded a grant for $300,000 from HUD. “The work would be to fix up homes that need work in windows, roofs, siding. It would be $60,000 per county, and staff was told it would be proportional to the county’s population. However, we have to contribute the $15,000 in Economic Development funds, because you have to do the projects first then they reimburse you for that. The Housing Trust Fund will use the $15,000 as a bank account, so the $15,000 does not go away, we can get back. There are people from all five counties who are a little leery about how this is going to work,” said Kass.
The grants total about $200,000 per county. The total of grants received, also from Iowa Finance Authority, by the housing authority to date is $879,777.
“We can get our money back as long as they don’t overspend the grant,” said Supervisor Jack Guenthner.
It was mentioned Kingsley has such funds set aside for new housing but that cost would rule that out.
“The grant funds can be used for either building new housing or for low-to-moderate-income people to fix up housing. The focus will be on the fixer-uppers for right now which is where the most good can be done.”
Area state representatives met at Mid-Sioux Opportunity at a town hall meeting Feb. 14 and discussed several topics, including the challenges facing Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and getting people to volunteer.
“I told them that they should allow the counties to solve the problem and not have a ‘Des Moines knows best’ mentality for all 99 counties,”
It was noted the Plymouth County Assessor’s budget, which is reviewed by the Plymouth County Conference Board, had a $503 reduction.
A public hearing on the county’s budget for Fiscal Year 2014-2015 will be at 1 p.m., March 4, at the Plymouth County Courthouse.