Supervisors give counter-offer on land in the business park
By MEGAN COOPER
Mt. Pleasant News
The sale of the 5.28 acres in Crossroads Business Park will enter into a counter-offer of $415,000.
An Iowa City couple, Joe and Kaci Vela, recently offered $150,000 for the land.
During Tuesday’s Henry County Board of Supervisors meeting, the board discussed the sale and decided on a counter-offer that seemed to suit the county better.
“I think the offer is just too low,” said vice-chairman Greg Moeller. “ I even think that $1 a square foot is low, it’s bottom dollar.”
“I agree,” said board member Gary See. “I understand that we accepted the other offer (Endondtics Specialists L.L.C.) at a lower cost. We wanted it here and we appreciated the offer as it was, but this time I don’t necessarily feel obligated to sell it at that. I believe we should increase the land price.”
According to Cottage Realty realtor, Steve Gray, if the board sold the land at that price, it would set a precedent for the rest of the land in that location.
“You can’t buy land for that price in town,” said Gray. “If they are interested, they will buy it, because $1 a square foot is a bargain.”
Henry County Planning and Zoning Director Joe Buffington added, “You can always come down on a (counter-) offer, you can’t go up. If they are serious they will come back with something, or they won’t.”
After more discussion, the board decided to counter-offer $415,000, which, according to the board, seemed more reasonable.
“I agree to that offer,” said See. “We really don’t know what the land (will be used) is for.”
In other board news, Travis Johnson, community health director for Henry County Health Center, brought Dr. Kent Metcalf’s resignation as county medical examiner to the board.
“Dr. Metcalf has worked at medical examiner for the county for about 10 years,” said Johnson. “He’s been working to back away from it by instituting the medical investigators.”
Johnson then asked the board to appoint Dr. Eugenio Torres of Ft. Madison to become the county’s new medical examiner.
“Dr. Torres does his own autopsies. He goes to the funeral homes and does it. Same cases he still refers to the University of Iowa, but most he does on his own, which would be helpful,” said Johnson.
After a short discussion, the board agreed to appoint Dr. Torres as county medical examiner, but on an interim basis.
“ We would need to know the costs before approving,” said Chairman Marc Lindeen. “We can appoint him to fill in for now, but if you (Johnson) could bring more information to us (the board) then we could decide what to do.”
Up next on the board agenda was Henry County Engineer Jake Hotchkiss’s weekly update.
“Well, this week it’s pretty short,” said Hotchkiss. “I have two permits here for you to approve. One is for Stanley Consultants and they are wanting to put in a sewage line at Geode State Park. It’s low-impact for us and I recommend approval. If there are any issues they are responsible for it.”
The board approved the permit for Stanley Construction to put in the sewage pipe.
“Also, I have a permit, well, for today (Tuesday), for a farmer to work in our right-of-way,” explained Hotchkiss. “It’s about one mile from Franklin Avenue to Grand Avenue. A farmer is going to be blocking the road to load cows. We’ve never had this kind of closure before, but I’m glad that farmer came to us and asked.”
The board approved the permit and the temporary closure of that section of road. According to Hotchkiss, road crews worked on spotting rock, working on plugged culverts, some snow removal and working on territories last week.
“We are doing the worst of the worst on the gravel roads,” said Hotchkiss. “Again, we appreciate the patience of the public. Next week the temperatures should help out with the warmer temperatures during the day and freezing at night. We are still working on the roads and doing what we can.”
Representatives from the Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) approached the board about possibly setting up a program in Henry County.
Kristie Doser executive director of the DVIP, along with other representatives of DVIP, discussed with the board the services DVIP offers.
“We provide support for victims of domestic violence and their loved ones,” said Doser. “We offer shelter, a safe place to go.”
DVIP of Johnson County also serves Iowa, Cedar, Des Moines, Henry, Lee, Keokuk, Van Buren and Washington counties.
Henry County Center Point of Coordination also joined the meeting, in order to discuss the best route to take with DVIP.
“In July of 2013 Iowa Attorney General’s office was in a bind, the government had zeroed out dollars for domestic violence and homicide survivors because the state was in budget trouble. Funding was dry,” said Doser. “They suggested dividing into six regions and then they could fund each region.”
“DVIP was designed to service Cedar, Johnson, Iowa, Washington, Henry, Des Moines and Lee counties for both sheltering services and domestic violence,” explained Doser. “Emergency services are what is needed. That is when someone is not safe in his or her own home. We use local motels and apartments to help them. State funding isn’t working so we are looking for local support to help these victims.”
“We are essentially looking at the flexibility of what housing support means for victims of domestic violence, that’s what we are trying to figure out now,” added Doser. “If you fund us, we would use the funds to help find a place for the victims to stay, it would be for the housing portion.”
After more discussion, the board agreed to allow Henry County Center Point of Coordination Sarah Berndt to work on a program with DVIP and bring it back to the board.
The Henry County Board of Supervisors meet again on Thursday, March 20, at 9 a.m. in the board room at the courthouse.