County board hears of housing, jobs and roads

Benton County Courthouse

By Jim Magdefrau

VINTON – Budgets and roads were the main topics for the Benton County Board of Supervisors when they met Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, at the service center in Vinton.

Budget work for the next fiscal year has started for Benton County. Making a budget request for next year was Laurie Worden of the Workplace Learning Connection/Kirkwood Community College. They are working to get career connective learning into the area schools. In grades 6 to 12, students are exposed to work-based learning through a variety of activities. Job shadowing increased despite Covid-19 concerns. Chairman Richard Primmer pointed out he was ecstatic to see how active Benton County is in this program. Worden said she is retiring Aug. 31.

Also making a request was Tracey Achenbach of East Central Iowa Housing Trust Fund. Since it has started, the program has benefited 103 houses.

Group Benefit Partners presented the Iowa Association of Counties (ISAC) renewal rates for next fiscal year.

The board approved a utility permit for Interstate Power & Light in Leroy and St. Clair Townships. This is by the dairy plant. They are burying a utility line for the facility, according to Engineer Myron Parizek.

The board also approved a utility permit for ECI REC in Homer and Big Grove Townships. This is northeast of Keystone. They are burying the power line there.

The board approved a tax abatement for the City of Shellsburg.

Farm to market

Wayne Siela discussed an upgrade to 61st Street between 24th Avenue and 25th Avenue, east of Highway 218. Siela and others would like to see a farm to market road there. He said it would be safer than the county home road for hauling grain. It is currently a dirt road. This would also take heavy ag traffic off the road next to the school, Siela said. He presented letters of support from representatives from the local school, Farm Bureau, Farm Service, and Tama-Benton Coop. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, local banks, township trustees also had letters of support.

Primmer said the board understands this is something that needs the board’s attention. Primmer said he is not sure if this is something that needs to be done with the city.

Parizek explained how the farm to market system is identified. Farm to market roads were set up by representatives from the state, city and county. Roads were identified. Now it goes to a board of six to eight people. The road has to show connectivity to be identified as farm to market. Each end of the mile of road in question has to be connected to farm to market roads. Funding would have to come from the county, which would take money away from other projects.

Primmer said the board agrees something needs to be done. He said they need to get estimates. No action was taken.

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