Summit Carbon Solutions updates supervisors on pipeline plans

By Rick Morain
Jefferson Herald

On Thursday, Jan. 5, Riley Gibson, representing Summit Carbon Solutions, updated the Greene County Board of Supervisors on the company’s progress toward constructing a carbon dioxide pipeline to capture and permanently store the liquefied CO2 deep underground in North Dakota. A portion of the planned pipeline would cross northeast Greene County.

Gibson said that 90.8 percent of the easements needed in Greene County have been acquired at a cost to the company exceeding $2.2 million. Those easements represent 9.6 miles of the 10.6 miles to be constructed in the county.
Statewide, 61.5 percent of the necessary easements have been acquired, Gibson said. A date for an Iowa Utilities Board public hearing on the project has not yet been set, but the location is expected to be in Fort Dodge.
One of the issues on the utilities board’s agenda will be whether Summit can use eminent domain to acquire the remaining easements

NOTABLE ACTION    

In other matters, supervisor John Muir reported that he and supervisor Dan Benitz had attended a meeting of the county compensation board. The compensation board recommends to the supervisors suggested salary levels for county elected officials for the coming budget year, which begins July 1.

That board is recommending increasing the sheriff’s salary by 13.5 percent, and all other elected officials (auditor, treasurer, recorder, attorney, and supervisors) by 6.5 percent. The compensation board’s recommendations will be presented to the board of supervisors at a later date.
Supervisor Pete Bardole reported how Greene County Development Corporation is proceeding with attracting new employees to businesses within the county.

COUNTY REPORTS

The board received a number of reports from county officials and others at their meeting the morning of Jan. 9.

Joan St. Clair of Heritage Insurance presented the board with insurance estimates concerning several policies for fiscal year 2023-24, which begins July 1. The county’s workers’ compensation contribution is estimated to drop by $7,400 from the current year’s contribution of $56,340. The 13 percent decrease is mostly a result of an experience modification drop to .69, the best modification factor the county has ever received.
The state ICAP package total, however, is estimated to receive a double-digit increase again: between 15 and 20 percent per line of coverage. The ICAP package includes property, liability, auto physical damage, and administrative fees, with total coverage premium of $288,000. The Nationwide bond estimate remains at $2,500.

The board took no action on the insurance presentation.
The board accepted both the recorder’s report of fees for October-December and the auditor’s passport report for the same quarter.
Chuck Wenthold presented the proposed environmental health budget for the coming fiscal year. Expenditures would generally remain the same, with salary expenses showing a five percent increase. Current year budget expenditures for the department are estimated at just under $70,000.

Wenthold estimates departmental revenues of $52,000 for the coming fiscal year, assuming the entire $40,000 funding of grants to counties is received.
Patti Treibel-Leeds of Central Iowa Community Services updated the board on some new services provided by the mental health region that includes Greene County. Ground has been broken for Ember Recovery Campus near Cambridge, a treatment center for Iowa youths. She added that transportation is available to a wellness center at Boone that is available for use by adults who meet certain criteria.
Assistant county attorney Laura Snider reported that county attorney Thomas Laehn will be working on a draft of the building and grounds policy for the board. Snider will be the county’s representative on the board for the new animal shelter.

Jefferson city administrator Mike Palmer in his monthly report to the board said that the city has received a letter from the Iowa Department of Transportation approving funding of up to $1.5 million for improvement of Jackson Bridge across the Raccoon River just southwest of Jefferson. He added that the new animal shelter is now open, and the former three-story Haag Apartments building at the corner of Adams and Wilson, three blocks north of the square, has been torn down.

The county sheriff’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year was tabled after sheriff Jack Williams needed to leave the meeting because of a traffic accident. The budget request will be rescheduled for the next board meeting.
County engineer Wade Weiss reported that plans call for reconstruction of the Snake Creek bridge just north of Rippey is planned for 2024, with replacement of Jackson Bridge set for 2024 or 2025.
The supervisors are now meeting every Monday and Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m. in the board room on second floor of the courthouse. The Thursday meetings will continue until the county budget is finalized, likely in early March.

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