Weed commissioner is approved for Benton County

VINTON – The Benton County Board of Supervisors discussed and approved the hiring of an ecologist/weed commissioner at their Tuesday, April 28, meeting in Vinton.

Benton County Attorney David Thompson reviewed the job description with the board. There were three applications. The board met with Ben Bonar, who had previously served as weed commissioner.

Thompson recommended a closed session for a job interview with Bonar. After a closed session, Bonar was approved. He begins Monday, May 4. His hourly rate is $25.73.


In business with the county engineer, a utility permit was approved for Farmer’s Mutual Telephone in Section 28, Canton Township, for a new house. A permit was approved for East Central Iowa REC in Sections 15 and 16, Benton Township, and Section 20, Polk Township. for two new homes. A part-time seasonal hire was also approved for secondary roads, helping to wash vehicles, maintain sheds, mow lawns, and general seasonal activities at $13 per hour.

Supervisor Gary Bierschenk asked about the status of painting county roads. Parizek said he’d check with the contractor.

Farm to Market

A Farm to Market Review Board recommendation was approved with Linn County. Road segments proposed for addition to the farm to market system:

  • 33rd Avenue Drive from 61st Street Lane north 1.044 miles in Section 25, T-85N, R-9W.
  • 33rd Avenue Drive from near the S¼ corner in Section 24, T-85N, R-9W north 0.132 miles to 59th Street Trail.
  • 59th Street Trail from 33rd Avenue Drive east 0.681 miles to Linn County line in section 24, T-85N, R-9W.
  • [Benton Linn Road from 71st Street to 72nd Street 1.00 mile in section 24, T-83N, R-9W.]
  • Total Mileage added to the Farm to Market System: 1.857 miles.

Road segments proposed for deletion from the farm to market system:

  • Proposed road from near the N¼ corner in Section 36, T-85N, R-9W east 0.5 miles to Linn County line.
  • Total Mileage deleted from the Farm to Market System: 0.50 miles.

Covid-19 impact

In Covid-19 business, Benton County Treasurer Melinda Schoettmer presented information on how her office will deal with driver’s licenses, whenever the county is opened up again. She plans to do this by appointment. They debated on how they can serve Benton County residents only while the neighboring counties are restricted. There is a concern about residents from other counties, such as Linn, coming into Benton County. As for motor vehicles, they will use the drop box for renewals.

There was also discussion on using parks for hiking and fishing while the parks are shut down. The county is following the state’s recommendation on keeping the parks closed.

They are looking at where the county stands come May 15 and when to open up the offices again. They agreed the county needs a plan for this.

Other business

A claim was approved from Janssen Waterproofing. They are doing work on the courthouse. Randy Janssen presented pictures of the work being done, and how wind, snow, ice and water affect the building its slate roof. Bids are expected for further work.

The supervisors approved having the auditor apply for a CARES Act grant for safety at the polling areas. This is part of the Vote Safe Iowa Initiative. They can get up to $300 per precinct for face shields, masks, cleaning supplies and disinfectant.

Contract documents were approved for the new transportation building. Thompson presented a sample document from the East Central Iowa Council of Governments. Officials filled in the blanks and said they need to work on getting the documents signed, as well as set up a schedule for work. Approval is planned at the May 5 meeting.

There was also talk about dropping the Star Press Union as an official publication, due to difficulty in getting legal notices published.

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