County talks COVID-19, land use, approves budget

Benton County Courthouse

VINTON – After a hearing, the Benton County Board of Supervisors approved the 2020-21 budget at their meeting Tuesday, March 17, in Vinton.

There was no one at the meeting to comment on the budget. Board members discussed mental health funding and then gave approval to the budget. The budget has $30.1 million in revenues, and $32.6 in spending, with a beginning balance of $8.1 million. The ending balance is expected to be $5.6 million. The tax rate is $5.51 per $1,000 in urban areas and $8.49 in rural areas.

Land use

The board again took up the matter of a land use change for Zach Ellis, for land in Section 3, Benton Township. Supervisors Gary Bierschenk and Tracy Seeman looked at the property. Seeman says the property’s driveway meets the county’s criteria. Supervisor Richard Primmer also visited and highly recommended expanding the second driveway on the property to accommodate truck traffic. Neighbors to the property had concerns about traffic and safety at the hearing held the week before. At the March 17 meeting, a neighbor was concerned about sight distance on the second driveway. Safety was still her biggest concern. She was also concerned about agricultural land being turned into non-agricultural, and having to see a loading dock from her front porch. After discussion, the change was approved on a motion by Seeman and Bierschenk.

Transportation building

Insulation and electrical bids were opened for the new transportation building. CV Insulation and G&H Electric submitted bids. Action is planned March 24. Ben Vierling was appointed as project manager. Transportation Director Dana Burmeister gave an update on the impact of the COVID-19 on transportation.

Resignation

The resignation of Benton County Treasurer Michele Sauer was approved, effective March 31, 2020. She was chosen as treasurer late last year to serve out the term of former treasurer Kelly Geater, who resigned the position. Benton County Auditor Hayley Rippel said there will be a meeting soon on how to move forward.

Other business

A land use hearing was set for Tuesday, April 14, 9:15 a.m., for Damien and Jessica Andrew for land in Section 31, St. Clair Township.

Bierschenk conducted the meeting, with Chairman Richard Primmer participating in the meeting on speakerphone.

The board accepted the resignation of Renee Peterson as a driver with Benton County Transportation.

Fireworks permits were approved for Charles Yedlik for April 4, May 23 and 24, and Oct. 24.

Engineer Myron Parizek said Wendling Quarry, Garrison, is planning a major stripping project, which will require a temporary stop light and signage. The temporary stop was approved.

Office space for Foundation 2 was discussed for the service center. They offer crisis prevention and intervention. Sheriff Ron Tippett said Foundation 2 requested office space to take care of privacy issues. Action on the quotes is expected next week.

COVID-19

A public health update was given on preparedness for COVID-19. The board went into closed session for this, as advised by County Attorney David Thompson.

Later in the day, an official response was released.

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