Mahaska County Supervisors For September 17
Oskaloosa, Iowa – The supervisors took care of their usual housekeeping, such as approving the agenda and the minutes from the September 4th meeting.
The MCARD report was presented by acting director Deann De Groot. De Groot said the Commerce Committee recently spoke about the Christmas Walk, and possibly having to raise the price somewhat so that the chamber can break even.
Some projects going on in New Sharon include shelter repair and also obtaining a historic grant to help in the restoration of the bell located in their park.
De Groot also said she is planning on attending the Fremont City Council to discuss their participation in the program on October 1.
The Director of Pathfinders, which is a non-profit organization that has been in existence since 1978, was next on the agenda. Detra Dettmann stated, “We focus on projects that have to do with economic development and natural resource conservation.” The group serves six core counties where they are sponsored from, Mahaska County being one of those.
During its initial 30 plus years of existence, Pathfinders enjoyed significant support from the federal government in the form of a position that was called a “coordinator” and also support for such things as office expenses, computers and a vehicle. “That all changed in April of 2011”, when congress ended the program and support nationwide. With several projects in the works that were helping to bring revenue in, Pathfinders was able to survive during the most recent rounds of cuts.
Some areas of the restructuring included focusing on areas where they could generate the most revenue. The one project that is most active in Mahaska County is surface mine reclamation.
What Pathfinders is able to do is secure a federal grant for each site with an average of $100,000 per site, which in turns helps to extend the states funding. The federal money is funded by coal tax money that is collected from existing coal production and the sale of electricity.
The group wants to continue its service to smaller communities that may not be able to afford their services, so they are asking that sponsor boards, like the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors, help in the way of a financial donation to the group.
In other matters, the supervisors gave approval to form a consultant selection committee for the southeast connector project.
The public hearing concerning the vacating of property located at Osburn and Hwy 23. Some prior history on the land included a condemnation nearly 25 years ago. The former land owner and Cablevey appear to have reached an agreement among themselves, but there will need to be another public hearing on the matter. It is scheduled for November 19th.