Donnellson Facility Prompted Change
6:00 pm
Sun July 8, 2012

Lee County Creates Notification Policy

Lee County wants to make sure its residents are informed of new large-scale farming operations.

The Iowa DNR requires Lee County publish a public notice in a confinement with more than 2,500 hogs is being built within the county.

If a confinement has fewer than 2,500 hogs, the county simply accepts its Manure Management plan and takes no other action.

The Board of Supervisors is changing that process.

Chairperson Janet Fife-LaFrenz says the county will still accept the plan.

She says it will also post notices about a new confinement within county buildings, add an item about the confinement to its weekly meetings and send out a news release.

“I think that it is just a courtesy that they know that something is coming… into their area,” says Fife-LaFrenz, “so this is a way we can notify the public.”

The push for more public information came about after several potential neighbors came to the board about a proposed hog confinement near Donnellson.

They said they did not oppose its construction, but rather, would have liked to have known the facility was coming to their “neighborhood.”

CONSERVATION/HEALTH DEPT. FACILITY

Lee County’s Conservation and Health Departments are continuing their push for a new, shared facility along Highway 61. 

It would be located on county-owned land near the current headquarters for the Conservation Office.

Health Department Administrator Julie Schilling says at this point, the focus of supporters of the new facility is on educating the public.

“We have a steering committee of about 20 people,” says Schilling, “who have been meeting regularly every month about making the community more aware of our project.  They felt at this time it was a good opportunity for us to take it out in the public and see what the community support is for it.”

The proposed complex carries a roughly $4-million price tag.

Schilling says supporters are applying for grants, accepting donations and planning a formal fundraising campaign.

Schilling and Conservation Director Tom Buckley spoke to a small crowd in Keokuk last Thursday night.

Three more forums are scheduled over the next ten days, including a meeting at Fort Madison Public Library at 6:30 P.M. on Monday, July 9.

COURT COLLECTIONS PROGRAM

The Board of Supervisors has agreed to continue a program focused on recovering unpaid court fees.

Assistant County Attorney Bruce McDonald’s private law firm will continue to manage the program at a cost of $3,000/month.

It’s estimated that Lee County has received more than $50,000 since the program began two years ago, which is about 40% of the total amount collect.

The remaining 60% has gone to victims and other agencies.

The one-year contract extension runs through June 30, 2013.

MENTAL HEALTH CONTRACTS

The Board of Supervisors has signed off on new contracts with about a dozen mental health care providers.

CPC Administrator Ryanne Wood says most are one-year contracts with a couple being multi-year deals.

Wood says the language and the cost of the services did not change in any of the agreements.