March 05, 2021

Here’s what you need to know about Jasper County’s $3.6M bond referendum

Taxpayers decide March 2 about whether to finance new administration offices

To finance the construction and renovation of the former NewCare building into new administration offices for select Jasper County employees, the board of supervisors have issued a bond referendum which would ultimately leave the decision up to local taxpayers.

How much will the project cost?

The $3.6 million bond referendum will pay for the extensive remodel of a former health care services clinic at 315 W. Third St. N. in Newton.

What does the county say about it?

Elected officials say because of Jasper County’s low debt the bond can be passed without raising the debt service levy past the current state. Furthermore, they say the county will be debt free within six years.

Who will move into the new administration offices?

About 13 county departments will operate from the new administration building. Also included in the designs by BBS Architects Engineers is a 4,000-square-foot addition for the driver’s license/motor vehicle departments. Many departments will be moving from the Jasper County Annex Building.

Which departments will be included in the new building?

The county treasurer, DMV, community development, environmental health, CICS (MH/DS), veterans affairs, human resources, public health, economic development, genealogy, department of human services, department of correctional services and juvenile correctional services.

Where does the annex building fit in all of this?

The deteriorating annex building has been suffering from foundational problems and water damage after decades of neglected upkeep. Presence of mold even forced county health department workers to relocate. Supervisors say repairing the historical building could cost up to $4.6 million.

What will be included in the renovations?

Energy efficiency is a key amenity. Jasper County intends to install a geothermal system in the admin building — similarly to the courthouse — as well as solar panels on the roof, further reducing the county’s utility bills. LED lighting, a backup generator and a “recharging room” are also included.

When is the special election?

March 2, 2021. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some polling sites for some precincts have been changed. For more information contact the county auditor’s office at 641-792-7016 or email auditor@jaspercounty.iowa.gov.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

Christopher Braunschweig

Reporter with a strong penchant for community journalism.