Eggs & Issues 2014 Launches With Local Conversation
Oskaloosa, Iowa – On Saturday morning area residents once again sipped coffee, listened, and discussed the issues that are facing Mahaska County and the City of Oskaloosa.
Oskaloosa Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt, Mahaska County Supervisor Mike Vander Molen and Oskaloosa School Superintendent Russ Reiter spent an hour on the hot seat.
Krutzfledt touched on paving projects the city has accomplished in the past year, such as Highway 432 and the east parking lot near Penn Central Mall. Krutzfeldt also spoke about the upkeep on the sewage treatment plant, which totaled approximately $400,000.00, and the city hosting RAGBRAI.
The discussion over how to house the Oskaloosa Fire Department will be further developing in the coming months. The building that housed trucks and equipment for the fire department had to be demolished in 2013 because of structural failure. Now some equipment must now be stored outside and some on the apparatus floor of the century old firehouse, leaving it very overcrowded.
Krutzfeldt encouraged Oskaloosa residents to share their opinion about the proposed fire station.
“In 2013 we really started out the new year with some new faces,” Vander Molen said of the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors, to those gathered at Smokey Row in Oskaloosa, Saturday morning.
Vander Molen was elected to the board in November of 2012 and took office in January of 2013. Mark Doland took office the first part of February 2013 to fill the vacancy left by Ken Rozenboom, who had been elected to the State Senate.
“We spent a lot of the year sort of going through that learning curve and coming up to speed, as much as possible, on the day-to-day operations of the county,” Vander Molen added.
Vander Molen then turned to projects that had been completed in the past year, such as the Lacey blacktop between Oxford and Queens avenues. He also pointed out the completion of Indian Way resurfacing, which was completed before RAGBRAI made its way into the county.
Vander Molen commented on that project saying he “took a little grief” over the project versus some others that constituents believed deserved priority.
The possible improvements to Highway 63 and a by-pass around Oskaloosa, that is currently in the study phase by the DOT, was also brought up during his opening remarks. “So in a couple of years, we should know more about that route. It’s very preliminary right now,” said Vander Molen.
Russ Reiter talked about how recent legislation is impacting the school system now.
“Iowa Core today is really dictating what’s being taught,” said Reiter of how the specifics for each grade level are taught at each grade level. “How it is to be taught is really left up to the local districts, and that’s the kind of thing we’re really trying to work on.”
Current funding for this fiscal year has already been set the previous year at 4%, but Reiter is interested if the legislature will give a signal for the next fiscal year to help him prepare a budget, to help prevent a situation where school districts have had to propose budgets without knowing what their final funding would be from the state, and then having to amend those budgets after the state mandated deadline.
Student enrollment is up in the district, and currently the elementary school is at capacity. Reiter said that if that trend continues, the district may have to look into adding additional room to the facility.
The next Eggs & Issues will be on January 25th at 8:30. It will feature updates and conversation from the state legislatures, Ken Rozenboom, Guy Vander Linden and Larry Sheets.