A Busy Supervisors Meeting Today

Written by Anna Greiner on January 15, 2015

The Henry County Board of Supervisors met this morning and it was a full agenda. Up first, County Engineer Jake Hotchkiss gave his department’s budget for the next fiscal year. He went over major expenses including some new equipment purchases and major projects for the coming year. The four main ones are: the paving of Franklin Avenue/Salem at a cost of $1.3 million, bridge work on Marsh Avenue at $450,000, the bridge on Ash Avenue also at $450,00 and the repaving of Winfield Avenue from the Highway 218 overpass to Racine at a cost of $4.3 million. He said that the budget is up for the fiscal year 2016 but that is due to construction and engineering due to projects. Hotchkiss also went over the Iowa Fuel Gas Tax; saying that the last major increase was in 1989 and showed the funds that could potentially be raised with a slight increase in the tax.

Up next, Supervisor Greg Moeller discussed the RUSS Exit Agreement. RUSS stands for Regional Utility Service System, which services ten counties. Three of those counties: Washington, Wapello and Mahaska, wish to end the agreement. A payment of $61,425 – that’s four and a half years of operations – to be paid by October 1st, has been approved for the exit. This has been sent to all ten counties of Supervisors for approval. All counties have to pass the resolution for the board to sign the exit agreement. The Henry County Supervisors expect to have this Exit Agreement on their agenda next Tuesday to pass the resolution.

Next, Terry McWilliams of the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion came in for the annual budget request. He reported that attendance was up for the reunion, that the Halloween events were the highest ever in attendance and that the Festival of Lights saw a 21% growth. McWilliams also debuted a new display concept for Museum B that will feature antique cars, trucks and a fire truck display. He also discussed how the W-M-T Great Eastern Iowa Tractorcade will be in Mount Pleasant, for the first time since 2008. There will be an admission change with one-day passes rising to $15 and after June 1st, 5-day passes will be $30. There is also a change in camping rates. McWilliams went on to say that they are in the midst of a rebranding for Old Threshers as they try to find a new way to retell the story of agriculture to a new generation. There was a budget request increase this year, from $17,000 to $20,000 and McWilliams closed the request by saying an economic impact study will be starting soon.

Finally, Holly Jones of IWC also had a proposal for funding. She discussed the success of the alumni banquet that was moved from graduation to Homecoming and the success of the enrollment team with applications already in for 2015 at almost ten times the rate from the previous year and those accepted also greatly increased. Jones’s request for funds also increased slightly to $7500.