Supes discuss open forum, hear report on TIF revenue

Also hold public hearing for DD191

~by Janice Harbaugh for GreeneCountyNewsOnline

The Greene County board of supervisors discussed doing away with the open forum part of board meetings during their regular meeting on Nov 25. County attorney Thomas Laehn reported he had attended a conference at which the state attorney general’s office recommended the removal of open forum segments of county supervisors’ meetings.

Laehn said there was discussion that open forum could violate open meetings laws.
According to the board agenda, the open forum at each meeting is “a time for any concerned citizen to address the board. If additional time is needed, a time may be scheduled with the board on a future agenda.”

During general discussion among board members, several had concerns about this limiting of citizen access to county government. One supervisor said, “People come here to let us know about important things, ideas about things we wouldn’t hear otherwise.”

At the end of the discussion Laehn said the open forum segment can be kept as “long as board members use it only to hear from people and not take any action on what was heard.” Action could be taken later, if the issue were placed on a future agenda.

Laehn also reported he is doing research on a proposed vicious animal ordinance to be presented to the board. He cited a Polk County vicious animal ordinance that has been deemed unconstitutional as reason to carefully write a Greene County ordinance.

Pam Olerich, tax coordinator in the auditor’s office, reported to the board on estimated tax increment finance revenue generated by the original 41 turbines in the taxing districts. “An estimated $131,501 should be generated,” Olerich said. “The TIF will be about $73,000 short of the amount needed to cover the interest payment.” Olerich said this was not unexpected and is only an estimate.

Another set of 81 turbines will be added to the taxing district and will eventually generate more TIF money.

Supervisor Pete Bardole presented a proposal from All American Turf Beauty for up-lighting of four columns on the south side of the courthouse. The supervisors will act on the proposal at the next board meeting. Public Art Policy requires them to issue a resolution soliciting the light display and then a resolution for accepting All American’s proposal for it.

The board unanimously approved the hiring of Christopher Bauer as fulltime equipment III operator for the department of secondary roads at $21.58 an hour. He will work from the Churdan location.

The board went into a public hearing as trustees for drainage district 191. Representatives of Bolton and Menk presented a map, pre-classification report for costs per acre, and report of a survey recently completed among the landowners of the proposed district.

The district lies west of Jefferson from about H Ave to west of F Ave, and from the Union Pacific Railroad on the north to about 4 miles south of 240th St (County Road E-53).
The cost of the proposed tiling of the district is paid by individual landowners and is based on 1) amount of use the landowner requires; 2) how close the landowner is to the tile; 3) soil type of the landowner’s acres; and 4) how close to the highway the acres are. Acres close to the highway are more expensive to tile and maintain.

The pre-classification report and map showed the acre by acre cost to the landowners.
The survey sent to landowners of the affected acres indicated the majority were in favor only of a segment of the entire proposed project. The board unanimously approved Bolton and Menk to get bids for the portion of the project going to G Ave.

Cost for the project is estimated at $400,000. Bids will be let in early January. Bolton and Menk estimate the speed of construction at 1,000 feet per week through the spring and summer. Landowners will be compensated for crop damage from the construction.
Chair John Muir said, “The improved yield will offset cost,” and supervisor Tom Contner said, “If we put it off, it’ll just cost more later.”

The public hearing was attended by 10 citizens from the affected area.
Landowner Chop Gibson said, “This will solve a lot of our troubles. This has been on my bucket list for 40 years.”

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