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Second round of hearings on septic tank ordinance planned

Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 12:10 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 12:11 p.m. CST

Ordinance 61, which changes regulations on septic tanks, is being rewritten, but the second round of public hearings already are scheduled. 

The initial public hearings and outcry from them, helped the Jasper County Board of Supervisors and Jasper County Sanitarian Kevin Luetters decide to revamp the original plan.

The original plan had provisions in it that would require a $50 dollar distributor box permit to repair a malfunctioning distributor box. It also would require property owners whose property line was within 200 feet a rural sewer line to tap into that line instead of using a septic tank. It would also have made having a license a requirement to install a septic tank.

The next wave of public hearings begins at 9:30 a.m. April 9. The second public hearing will take place at 7 p.m. April 16, and the final hearing will be at 9:30 a.m. April 23. All hearings will take place at the Jasper County Courthouse.

Jody Eaton, community services director of Central Point Coordination of Jasper County, updated the board on the special meeting held Thursday with representatives from Mahaska, Marion and Poweshiek counties.

“Basically, to bring the supervisors (of the other counties) up to speed on what we had previously discussed,” Eaton said. “Our three supervisors remained the same, there was a turnover in Mahaska County, so it was a meeting to bring the newer supervisors up to speed. Those counties had not officially appointed a board representative, they’re supposed to be doing that this week so that we can move forward with the planning process.”

The meeting was a part of the four counties’ efforts to combine their mental health and disability services into one regional coalition as mandated by the Iowa General Assembly. The target goal for the new region to be complete and operational is June 30, 2014.

“The intent of the legislation is to bring counties to the same level of service,” Eaton said. “What we hope to do in our region is to not only do that, but try to find administrative efficiency by sharing staff.”

Eaton noted that issues will occur during the regionalization process.

“As you know, what we are going to have issues with is we tend to be a little territorial,” Eaton said. “You know we have always functioned as a county and things are run differently in the different counties, so maybe a mediator or consultant can help us have more of a global view instead of just the county view.”

Supervisor Joe Brock is the official representative of Jasper County during the regionalization efforts and applauded Eaton on her work.

“I’d like to recognize Jody for all work you have done up to this time,” Brock said. “It’s a lot of unknowns with this thing and you have done a great job. When I look at the map of the regionalization, ours really makes the most sense. Four counties right smack dab in the middle of it (the state) and I just think the logistics of it are going to work.”

The board approved Jasper County Engineer Russ Stutt’s proposed budget for the 2014 fiscal year and five year plan. Stutt’s budget has $2,310,073 for road maintenance alone, which should be a relief to secondary road drivers in the county. His plan also has another $1,742,000 budgeted toward construction on bridges and roads. Both figures are apart of the 2014 budget and do not totally reflect his overall five year plan, which is projected to be completed by 2018.

Stutt and Jasper County Human Resources Director Dennis Simon also presented the board with their resolution to create a full-time position of assistant maintenance superintendent II at the Secondary Roads Department.

“Essentially it’s not a new position, it’s just a new title,” Stutt said. “Right now we have a maintenance superintendent and an assistant maintenance superintendent. We also have Randy Fox who has done an excellent job over the last couple of years ... With everything he does, I think we can really justify having him also be an assistant maintenance superintendent.”

“That would kind of help us out in the winter time,” Stutt continued. “We’ll have two to three guys checking roads, instead of one or two... Also with that he will be on call in case the sheriffs department needs something and we have to get somebody out there and help them out with something. I really think he is doing a good job and probably deserves all the support.”

Board chair Dennis Stevenson commented: “I think it makes sense.”

The board approved the resolution to create the position and Simon assured the board that they will follow protocol and present them with a hiring resolution, an established pay rate, and length of service and any other requirements needed.

“A lot of our guys are basically qualified as the same,” Stutt said. “So this gives another level of opportunity that somebody can see in the future to strive for and try and work for.”

Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at trushing@newtondailynews.com.

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