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Board of Supervisors choose neutrality in Cleverly conflict with IDOT

The Cleverly family was a no-show at the Tuesday, June 18, Jasper County Board of Supervisors meeting, but the board went ahead and announced its take on the family’s situation with the Iowa Department of Transportation.

“I did some looking into this and some digging, and I’ll tell you my position, I don’t want to take a stand as a board,” Board Chairman Dennis Stevenson said. “I think it’s a no-win situation. We have people on both sides of it, and I’m not sure I want to do anything officially as a board.”

Two weeks ago, the Cleverly family came to the board in hopes of garnering its support in their campaign against the IDOT. The family said that the proposed interchange alternatives of Iowa Highway 330 between U.S. Highway 65 and County Blacktop F17 would affect three of their farms and a hundred acres of timber they own.

“I think that is a good decision,” board member Dennis Carpenter said.

“I thought the same thing,” board member Joe Brock said.

Although Brock agreed taking a side as a board member wouldn’t be the right call, he added his personal take on the matter.

“IDOT is closing on a 70-year history of problems and mismanagement with that intersection,” Brock said. “And apparently they want to dump another 15 million into it. I did go out and look at it, and it’s very confusing.”

“As a farmer, my heart goes out to the Cleverly family,” Brock said. “Their family has already literally had their operation cut in half once, and now they are (potentially) going to lose three homes again. On a personal level, I hope IDOT gives them a fair hearing and makes a sound decision this time. From what I have heard so far, I don’t know if IDOT has given the correct amount of thought (on the project).”

Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty was in attendance at the meeting and wanted to clarify some points he had made during previous meetings.

“If it came out that I completely opposed it, that is not the case,” Halferty said. “Some of (my concern) has been rectified because I’ve had some dialogue with IDOT. It’s working now, but it’s confusing. In my stance, my personal and professional opinion are the same.”

“What has been done up there has been working, but can I guarantee you that it is going to prevent further accidents?” Halferty continued. “No, nor do I think their new plan is going to prevent all accidents. Unfortunately, if that is the best plan — and there is a lot of support for it — so be it.”

Halferty also asked County Engineer Russ Stutt if he had been contacted by the IDOT about the proposed plans. Stutt said he hadn’t and the last conversation he had with the IDOT about the area concerned warning lights.

In other business:

• Elderly Nutrition Director Kelli Van Manen received approval to receive an additional $2,377 from Aging Resources of Central Iowa. The funds will be used to purchase and pay for food items before the end of the fiscal year.

• The board also approved a modification to the county’s contract with ARCI. The modification will reflect the new funds it is expected to receive from ARCI.

• County Engineer Russ Stutt request to purchase a Topcon PS-103A Robotic Total Station was approved. The tool is used by contractors to perform layouts and measurement tasks more efficiently. Grimes-based Iowa Transit Inc. won the contract with a low bid of $23,752.

• The board also recognized Jasper County Surveyor Howard Steward for being named to the State Licensing Board. Stevenson said that Howard does a great job and that it is a great honor to be named to that board.

• Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott received approval for a 28E agreement with Iowa Precinct Atlas Consortium. IPAC is a program that helps election officials check and validate a voter’s registration. Parrott said the program will be used a long time and the agreement will cost about $2,000.

• Heartland Co-Op received approval to upgrade its Anhydrous Tanks at its Prairie City location.

• The board approved several fireworks permits.

The board will also host a public hearing on Friday, June 28, that will focus on a budget amendment for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. Over the last several weeks, several departments have received either additional funds or made non-budgeted purchases. The end of the fiscal year falls on July 1 and the budget has to accurately showcase the county’s expenditures and receipts.

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