Supes get jail inspection report, discuss next step for TIF

~by Janice Harbaugh for GreeneCountyNewsOnline

The Greene County jail is “very good for its age,” but there are extensive problems with the layout of the building that can’t be corrected.

That’s what the county supervisors were told Monday when Delbert Langley, a jail inspector with the Iowa Department of Inspections, reported on his annual inspection. The supervisors have heard the same the last several years.

Langley said the physical condition of the building was “very good for its age.” He did note several safety, security, and liability conditions involving the layout of the building.

Currently, inmates go to the basement to exercise and visitation requires movement from the secure jail area to the office area. Langley noted the jailer serves as dispatcher which could be a liability concern if an inmate was coming in and a 911 call occurred along with a call to or from an officer.

Langley suggested video visitations with visitors staying in the lobby and having video connections with the cells.

He said renovation to correct the security and liability problems of movement of inmates from area to area and to bring the facility up to current standards would be money wasted because of the extensive nature of the layout problems.

Langley approved the jail for another year but cautioned improvements will need to be made at some point. Langley said a new facility could take 5 years, start to finish.

The supervisors also discussed the tax increment financing (TIF) plan okayed in 2018.
Jeff Heil, representative from Northland Securities in West Des Moines, advised the supervisors that TIF generated by the Greene County portion of Beaver Creek Wind Farm can be used for construction of the career academy and courthouse renovation, but not for building a new jail.

In his discussion with the board, Heil explored public financing possibilities for projects the board is considering and advised them the next step for using TIF money for the career academy is to get a bill from the school for costs thus far by December 1. A comprehensive plan listing other possible uses for TIF money is also required.

Currently, 41 turbines are identified within the wind farm urban renewal area. The additional property taxes coming from improvements in the area – in this case, the turbines – can be used for certain types of public financing. Heil recommended adding the 85 new turbines to the urban renewal area.

Northland Securities advises investors and municipalities on public finance and works with them throughout the process of funding projects.

County sheriff Jack Williams reported no problems at the Grand Junction 150 celebration. He also reported no problems at the Flack River Farms Recreation Summer Bash.

Zoning coordinator  Chuck Wenthold reported the Flack application for rezoning the recreational property from agricultural to commercial is “being looked at.” He said law enforcement is not part of the re-zoning process.

Greene County public health director Becky Wolf gave an end-of-year report to the board citing an increase in immunizations among other accomplishments in home care visits.

The board unanimously approved the hiring of Roger Hoyt as fulltime secondary roads employee at $21.58 an hour.

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