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Another local resident expresses concern with IDOT

Published: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 11:40 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 11:47 a.m. CDT

After several weeks of discussion of the Cleverley family’s issues with the Iowa Department of Transportation, another citizen brought her issues with the department to the forefront.

Kellogg resident Barbara Greer came to Tuesday’s Jasper County Board of Supervisors meeting in search of answers and help during the public comments portion of the meeting.

Greer was hoping the board could help alleviate flooding problems along the Coon Creek culvert that runs under Iowa Highway 224. The roadway isn’t a county road, however, and is a state road and the responsibility of maintenance falls to IDOT.

“In the morning hours of May 26, what is known as Coon Creek flooded,” Greer said in an interview after the meeting. “Our house that is about 70 to 75 yards from Coon Creek, had about 4 feet of water in my backyard and 18 inches above my home.”

“Part of that was due to a blockage in Coon Creek and due to the south side of the culvert being full of debris and silt from years of lack of maintenance,” Greer continued. “We were one of eight homes that had basement flooding that morning. We had about 4 inches and it ruined everything. Some homes had 6- to 8-foot deep water, it blew out windows and filled homes with muddy water.”

Greer said she has been trying for the last month to find a solution to the problem and has been in communication with State Sen. Dennis Black, who she said was also getting the runaround from IDOT.

“It’s a state highway and we have no authority or responsibility there,” board chair Dennis Stevenson said during the meeting. “We don’t have much input as a board, and there isn’t much we can do, unfortunately.”

While Stevenson said there wasn’t much the board can do, he said he had been having discussions with Kellogg Mayor Scott Keenan and Jasper County Conservation Director Kerri Van Zante about possibly doing something with the waterway, which would fall under county jurisdiction.

“It’s important to me too. It’s my community, and I do have concerns,” Stevenson said.

Although the county can’t do anything as far as road work is concerned, Greer seemed grateful that the board took the time to listen.

“I was hoping that I could get further than I did, but I think I made some progress,” Greer said. “I just need the support of the county and our representative in order for those who are responsible, which is IDOT, to get some attention there.”

“They said that it works as designed,” Greer said. “But, I can’t see the design of filling it in with dirt. If it was an overflow, then why did they make two 10x10s? To me, this is no different than bridge maintenance in that it needs to be maintained, inspected annually and if it needs cleaned in five years, then let’s work on cleaning it out.  Let’s not wait until it gets this bad and homes are damaged.”

In other business, County Attorney Mike Jacobsen asked the board to approve a contract with Shred-it to destroy some county files that were no longer needed. Jacobsen said that the quoted amount of $6 per standard banker box and $8 per file drawer, would actually be higher due to the county having more files than originally estimated in need of being destroyed.

Jacobsen also said that Shred-it’s services would be open to other county offices and that he had already reached out to a few. The measure was approved and Jacobsen said the county would save $65 a month in storage fees and the cost could come out of his office’s budget.

In another legal related matter, Jacobsen advised the board on the dissolution of the I-Green Learning Facility contract.  He advised them not to make any official decisions on the matter until they make sure that there were no liens or lawsuits on the property. Jacobsen said that if any there were any against the property, the next step would be to go through a forfeiture process.

“It’s too bad it didn’t make it, it was a good program,” Stevenson said.

“On the upside, the building they did use they put quite a bit of work into it,” board member Joe Brock said. “The building is in good shape and that is something positive in an otherwise sad deal. We’ll never know what would’ve happened if they made it.”

When asked what the county’s plans were for the land once it was officially returned, Stevenson said he personally would be interested in seeing if anyone would be interested in purchasing the property.  

The board followed Jacobsen’s advice and no vote was made on the contract, but if there are legal measures against the property it could be returned to county ownership within a few weeks.

In other business:

• The 2013-14 fiscal year budget appropriation was approved and set at $26,071,801.

• The Recorder’s Office May report was approved and the office collected $24,886.36 during the month.

• Transfer Orders 1303 and 1304, which both redirect funds to the Secondary Roads Department, were approved. The department will be receiving $1,207,839.02 from the general basic fund and the rural services fund.

• An amendment was made for the fireworks permit request and an additional three citizens were added to the list. The amendment was approved as well as the permit requests.

• The board also confirmed the canvass numbers from the Prairie City-Monroe special election.

Voters voted no upon a revised Revenue Purpose Stream for the district’s share of the statewide School Infrastructure Local Option Sales Tax. The measure lost due to 212 voters selecting “no” and only 178 voters selecting “yes.”

Early results also indicate that Jane Witt defeated Twyla Flickinge, 185-169, for the District 5 seat on the PCM School Board.

In the battle for the District 7 seat, Steve Nearmyer defeated Zachary Pendroy, 244-96.

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

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