Supervisors renew master matrix for evaluation of hog confinements
By Rick Morain
The Greene County Board of Supervisors last week renewed its annual resolution to use the state’s master matrix document to evaluate applications for the construction of new or expanded hog confinement facilities in the county.
The master matrix is not required by the state, but only counties that have adopted it can submit recommendations to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to approve or disapprove a confinement structure. The county’s resolution will be in effect from February 2022 through January 2023.
The DNR is not bound by a county’s recommendation regarding a specific confinement facility.
In other action, the board adopted a resolution that provides for the county’s participation in the master settlement agreements with seven manufacturers and distributors of pharmaceutical opioids. County attorney Thomas Laehn told the board not to expect a large amount of money from the county’s share of the settlements.
The board appropriated the final 15 percent of funds approved for fiscal year 2021-22 to county departments and officers.
The board placed on second reading the proposed new county election precinct ordinance. On Laehn’s recommendation the board scheduled a public hearing on the precinct proposal for the next board meeting on Monday, Jan. 3. That hearing will precede the third and final reading of the ordinance.
The board, on Laehn’s recommendation, decided that the State Auditor’s Public Innovation and Efficiency program is not a priority for Greene County at this time. The board is still able to use the suggestions made in the program’s document if it so chooses.
The board heard annual funding requests from three organizations. No action was taken, pending discussions during the board’s budget preparation period for fiscal year 2022-23 that takes place in early calendar year 2022.
One of the presentations was from Carole Custer and Bob Schwarzkopf of the Bell Tower Community Foundation. Custer reviewed accomplishments of the organization that included the tower’s being named Iowa Tourism’s 2021 Top Tourist Attraction.
The bell tower surpassed its goal of 6,000 visitors by visits from 6,331 individuals in 2021. Due in part to severely reduced funds from the state’s hotel/motel tax (because of COVID-19 disruptions), the foundation has operated at a net loss.
County funding of the Bell Tower Foundation has not increased above $7,500 since the late 1980s. Custer asked that the allocation for 2022-23 be increased to $10,000, plus a one-time additional allocation of $1,200 to help with strategic planning.
Linda Ross and Harvey Swartz represented Elderserve II (Jefferson Congregate Meals) with an annual report and 2022-23 funding request.
Through November, Elderserve provided 207 serving days with an average of 89 meals per day, some served at the Greenewood facility and others home-delivered in Jefferson, Churdan, Scranton and Grand Junction. Elderserve is requesting $15,000 for 2022-23. Current year’s funding is $11,000.
Habitat for Humanity director Jeff Lamoureux summarized assistance provided to three homeowners by Habitat during the past year. The organization provides repairs to Greene County homeowners through its Helping Hands program. Lamoureux asked the board to continue its support at the current $5,000 level.
Craig Berry reminded the board that the Market to Market Relay will be held once again in 2022, on Friday, May 13, and Saturday, May 14.
County sheriff Jack Williams inquired whether Louis Dreyfus funds might be used to buy a large generator for use at Clover Hall if a request is made by the Greene County Fair Board. Williams said that there was no public warming shelter available in Jefferson during the recent power outages. The board will discuss the request.
County engineer Wade Weiss updated the board on truck replacements and storm debris collection around the county.
The Jan. 3 board meeting will be the annual organizational meeting.