County supervisors move forward on waste site permit
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
Before Henry County’s citizens’ convenience center can receive its permit, the county must set aside money in case it ever closes.
Thursday morning, the board of supervisors approved a resolution to establish a solid waste closure fund. Buffington explained that establishing this fund is required by the Iowa DNR as part of the application for a permit for the citizens convenience center, the county’s central waste collection site.
Joe Buffington, planning and zoning administrator, explained that this fund is in place to cover the costs of closing the site if the county were to ever give up the permit or not provide waste collection anymore.
“Basically it amounts to funds to get rid of two days of whatever we may have out there,” Buffington.
The resolution passed on Thursday morning does not have a specific dollar amount listed, as it will change over time, noted Buffington. He said that the county engineer determines the dollar amount in the fund, but the DNR must agree to the amount as well.
This waste closure fund only concerns the central waste collection site behind the emergency management building on West Washington Street in Mt. Pleasant. The rural waste collection sites do not currently fall under the permit, as they are not permanent sites.
In other business, the supervisors had listed on their agenda a discussion of a citizens’ aide letter dated Feb. 19.
Supervisor Chairman Gary See said that this agenda item referred to formulating a response to a letter the county received from the citizen’s aide/ombudsman office in Des Moines.
The supervisors were not certain whether working on their response needed to be in a public meeting or not, which is why it was listed on Thursday’s agenda. However, that morning they found out they could work on it outside of an official meeting.
See explained that the county had received the letter from Bert Dalmer, assistant citizens’ aide/ombudsman, asking for information because his office had received an allegation that the county was not following the proper procedure for contracts.
The county’s response is due back to the ombudsman’s office by March 20, and See said they are working on a compilation of auditor’s reports from TD&T and advertisements for bids that the county has published to include with their answer.
“I feel that we will be able to give answers that are satisfactory,” said See, noting he was not concerned about the issue.
Between agenda items — a time where public comments are allowed — New London resident Ron Osborne asked for copies of two letters regarding the Jewel Avenue sealcoating project. This project came before the supervisors in August as a proposal from residents of that road. The proposal said that the residents on that road would pay for the sealcoating and the county would be responsible for maintenance. At that time, the supervisors gave the residents tentative approval.
Final approval has not been given on the project, however. Thursday morning, See told Osborne that he is cautious of the precedent that approving this project could set and also the potential cost for the county.
Osborne stated that he is also concerned about that cost. He has made multiple requests for all materials related to the Jewel Avenue project. He is concerned that there are one or two letters he may be missing.
County Auditor Shelly Barber, See and Supervisor Vice Chairman Marc Lindeen said they did not recall seeing either letter. Supervisor Greg Moeller was not present at Thursday’s meeting.
One of these alleged letters is a signed letter from the residents of Jewel Avenue. When the project was initially discussed in August, the supervisors requested that this letter be sent.
Osborne said the second letter he is requesting a copy of was mentioned during a supervisors meeting that he attended.
“The main thing is, I heard in a public meeting that there was a signed letter about the Jewel Avenue Project, and no one seems to know about it,” said Osborne. “That’s a problem.”
Barber said that the supervisors’ mail comes through her office, and she could not recall a letter being received.
“It could have arrived here other than through your office,” noted Osborne.
The Jewel Avenue sealcoating project will be going before the Henry County Zoning board, as all major road changes are required to do. The board will then make a recommendation to the board of supervisors.
This meeting will take place March 12 at 7 p.m. in the former clerk of court’s office at the Henry County Courthouse.
The supervisors also held their monthly department head meeting.