Supervisors nix ‘Beer Fest Across Greene County’

RAGBRAI® riders will find no roadside “watering holes” in Greene County. The county supervisors on Monday denied a temporary class B permit for Backpocket Brewing. The company wanted to open a beer tent July 23 on Highway 25 five miles south of Scranton.
The supervisors’ reasoning involved public safety. “You’ve got free enterprise, but you also have to look out for safety,” supervisor Pete Bardole said. “Law enforcement is going to be stretched thin that day.”

Bardole is on the local RAGBRAI advisory committee representing the supervisors. He said the lead RAGBRAI organizers prefer to see alcohol allowed only in pass-through and overnight towns.

“The title of the event is Bike Ride Across Iowa,” board chair John Muir said. “It isn’t Beer Fest Across Greene County.”

Supervisor Dawn Rudolph is organizing Scranton hospitality for the ride; there will be beer available there. She said there will be 13 vendors in Scranton, providing enough revenue via vendor fees to cover the cost of renting portable toilets.

In other business, the supervisors appointed Dawn Rudolph and Tom Contner to a committee to discuss future plans for a new jail, at the request of sheriff Jack Williams.
There had been discussion earlier of a joint, centrally located facility with Carroll, Guthrie and Greene counties. Those discussions have ended when transportation costs to the facility will included in the finances.

“With (assistant county attorney) Thomas (Laehn) doing the fantastic job he’s doing the space is pretty full now with the people he’s getting sentenced to jail time,” Williams told the supervisors.

The county pays $50-$75 per day to house inmates elsewhere when the jail is full. He said the cost for housing an inmate in the local jail is $9 per day.

Williams said the cost of repair and renovate the current jail is “pretty substantial.”
Williams has preliminary plans for a jail and offices for sheriff and Jefferson police department with a price tag of $11-$12 million. The jail would have 25 beds with space to expand to 50 beds.

“We need to move in that direction. Putting it off isn’t going to take care of it,” Muir said. “We expect you guys (the sheriff’s office) to do the job so we need to get you the tools to do it good.”

According to Williams, 90 percent of the crime in the county is fueled by drug use, primarily marijuana and methamphetamine.

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