Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2018

Supervisors begin approving ‘18-’19 fiscal budget, discuss construction of jail

Jan 12, 2018

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


Supervisors had their calculators on the table as department budget proposals for the 2018-2019 fiscal year began on Thursday, Dec. 11.

The Henry County Treasurer and the Henry County Recorder both discussed their budget proposals, saying there was very little change to the budget in each department.

Ana Lair, Henry County Treasurer, said motor vehicle and driver’s license revenue will stay about the same in the next fiscal year. The department is requesting one raise for an employee who has been with them for nine years. They are also asking for a new printer for their office.

Henry County Recorder Mindy Fitzgibbon said that the budget is pretty static. Fitzgibbon said one thing she is seriously working on is bringing passports back to the recorder’s office. “It’s a huge revenue and I want to do passports and pictures,” she said. “We’re going to try to do it all.”

Jim Pedrick with Iowa Wesleyan University (IW) also presented a proposal, asking for a contribution of $15,000 from the county for IW’s strategic planning process. Pedrick said that the $7,500 the county contributed last year may have helped pay for his new computer. With the money allotted, the university replaced over 100 staff computers last year.

Since IW’s 2020 strategic plan is essentially completed two years early, they are starting to organize a new one aimed at 2025. “The underlying principle we’re going by is that what’s good for the region is good for Iowa Wesleyan and what’s good for Iowa Wesleyan is good for the region,” Pedrick said.

Their new strategic plan focuses on partnerships and collaborations throughout the region, with a belief that many students who study here will end up staying.

“The university adds a lot to the area in terms of international students and in terms of students from around the country,” Pedrick said. “I think we can play a roll in not only keeping our natives here and make new natives who get attached to this place when they come here for an education.”

A year from now, Pedrick said he hopes to be able to come to supervisors with an economic impact statement in hand, which the university is currently working on.

Supervisor Gary See said that he would be surprised if the economic impact of IW on Mt. Pleasant wasn’t “an impressive statement.”

After approving the rest of the county budget, a decision will be made on how much money the county can allot to IW. Moeller said he expects they will vote on it in February.

In other news, County Engineer Jake Hotchkiss discussed with Supervisors the closing of 5.08 acres of property adjacent to the Henry County Rock Quarry on 245th St.

See said this property will give the quarry more life and the buffer they legally need between the quarry and other properties. “You can’t just quarry up to the property line,” See said. “There has to be a buffer and we’ll use this purchase for that purpose.”

Supervisors also spent the majority of the meeting discussing plans for the jail with John Hansen from Midwest Construction. Hansen said that because of drainage, the tennis courts on the property will have to come out completely. The courts will be too close to the building and he doesn’t want to take a chance on water runoff.

Hansen said that a geotechnical report of the land showed high plasticity in the soil, which means they will have to do a two-foot overcut and bring in rock. Because high plasticity is typical in the area, Hansen said this work was calculated into the cost of the project. Outside of that, the report showed “nothing out of the ordinary,” Hansen said.

Midwest Construction is shooting for the end of February to release plant construction documents. At that time, they will have three to four weeks of bidding and hope to have the project bid by the end of March.

“We’ve had a ton of interest in the project,” Hansen said, adding that there have been six general contractors who have already approached him.

Overall, the footprint of the building hasn’t changed much, Hansen said. Weather-permitting, they hope to begin construction in April.

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