Lee County Board of Supervisors

It could cost Lee County much more than anticipated to repair a well-traveled road.

A stretch of River Road, between Keokuk and Montrose, had to be closed in June 2010 because of a landslide.

County Engineer Ernie Steffensmeier says the lowest of three bids for a permanent stabilization plan came in at just over $1-million.

He believes the bids are accurate based on the fact that all three are within 10% of each other.

Steffensmeier told the Board of Supervisors, earlier this week, the original estimate for the project was around $540,000.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors hopes a simple gesture will kick-off a successful fundraising campaign for two county departments.

The Health and Conservation Departments would like to build a shared facility along Highway 61 near the current Conservation Office.

The building could cost more than $4-million, which is much more than the county can afford at this point.

Supporters say people, businesses and organizations have not been willing to donate money without knowing whether the county would support the project.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors is ready to become the latest governmental board to conduct paperless meetings.

County Auditor Anne Pedersen brought up the idea of paperless meetings during the board's most recent workshop.

The board meets at least 4 times each month.  Pedersen says it takes a lot of time, paper, and ink to print documents for each of the five supervisors for each meeting.

The supervisors supported Pedersen’s recommendation to purchase electronic readers.

Lee County has decided to help one of its unincorporated communities with a proposed sewer project.

The Board of Supervisors has entered into a new 28-E agreement with Regional Utility Service Systems (RUSS). 

RUSS is an organization based in Mount Pleasant that helps rural communities secure state and/or federal money for sewer projects.

Supervisor Ernie Schiller says this agreement will allow RUSS to start the preliminary engineering work for a potential sanitary sewer system in the Mooar/Powdertown area north of Keokuk.

Lee County’s Conservation Department is getting an employment boost.

The Board of Supervisors has authorized the department to promote its part-time assistant naturalist to full-time status.

The department’s oversight board had already signed off on the promotion.

Board of Supervisors Chairperson Janet Fife-LaFrenz says this will help the department in several ways, in particular through educational programs and tourism opportunities.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors is touting the benefits of a controversial decision.

There are plenty of residents, especially in Keokuk, who oppose the board’s decision to reorganize four county departments one year ago.

The offices of the Auditor and Treasurer are now located in Fort Madison while the Assessor and Recorder are in Keokuk.

The opposition is primarily linked to the lack of a drivers’ license facility in Keokuk.

The supervisors say the reorganization is paying off for the county.

Some Lee County residents could soon pay more for sewer services.

The Board of Supervisors has signed off on a new monthly fee for households or businesses connected to Argyle’s sanitary sewer system.

The supervisors acted in their capacity as trustees for the unincorporated community’s sewer district.

The new flat fee has been set at just under $56/month.  It is expected to take effect within the next few weeks.

Sewer bills in Argyle were previously calculated based on the amount of water used by a property owner.  The average bill was less than $45/month.

The state of Iowa is really getting behind the development of a sports complex in western Fort Madison.  The site will feature multiple football/soccer fields and baseball/softball diamonds.

The Vision Iowa Board’s Community Attraction & Tourism Committee recently wrapped up negotiations with the complex committee on the size of a grant.

The panel announced during its meeting on Wednesday morning that the sports complex would receive $766,000.

The complex committee’s initial request was for more than $900,000. 

Lee County wants to make sure its residents are aware of new farm operations that can be considered controversial at times.

The Board of Supervisors has stayed out of the discussion about hog confinements in the past. 

Lee County has been one of the few counties in Iowa to reject the state DNR’s Master Matrix, which is a scoring system for such facilities.  It has also avoided making a ruling on permits because the DNR has the final say.

Upcoming changes to Iowa’s mental health system may not impact Lee County in the short term.

The state will start covering the cost of Medicaid-endorsed services in July.  That means there will be no more reimbursements for counties, which will drastically shrink budgets for mental health and other developmental disabilities.

What is left in the budgets will be primarily used to pay for services not covered by Medicaid.

Ryanne Wood oversees Lee County’s MHDD department.  She says that is why efforts are underway to shift county-funded clients to Medicaid.

Lee County, IA has some competition in its efforts to land a new industry.

The county has spent months trying to encourage Iowa Fertilizer Company to build a plant on several hundred acres of land just north of Fort Madison.

The company is a subsidiary of Orascom Construction Industries, which is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt.

The $1.3-billion plant could create up to 200 permanent jobs and several thousand short-term construction jobs.

The Democrats running for the District V seat on the Lee County Board of Supervisors are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to government consolidation.

It was one year ago, this month, that the board voted to reorganize county government. 

The final proposal resulted in the moving of the Auditor and Treasurer’s offices to the North Lee County Office Building in Fort Madison. 

In turn, the Assessor and Recorder’s offices are now located in the South Lee County Courthouse in Keokuk.

The 3rd time was the charm in Fort Madison’s attempt to land some state funding for a proposed sports complex.

The Fort Madison Sports Complex Committee applied for nearly $900,000 through the Vision Iowa Board’s Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) Committee.

The group walked away with nothing but advice and recommendations after its first two presentations to the CAT Committee.

The third trip, though, led Vision Iowa to agree to enter into negotiations with the sports complex committee to determine how much state funding would be provided.

Lee County could update a policy that affects every one of its employees.

Safety Coordinator BJ Stephens says she would like to do a complete re-write of the county’s safety plan.  She says it would cover every aspect of county government by creating a streamlined approach to handling issues that multiple departments must address.

Board of Supervisors Chairperson Janet Fife-LaFrenz says the goal is “to make our environment that our people work in and our residents come in to visit a very safe one.”

Lee County will provide money for a proposed sports complex in Fort Madison.  The decision comes after the Board of Supervisors spent weeks rejecting requests for funding.

The Vision Iowa Board has said that Fort Madison’s request for more than $800,000 will not be considered without a $25,000 contribution from the county.  The program requires city, county, and public support for a project.

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