Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wind Farm Could Bring $5-million annually to Washington Co.

A proposed wind farm could eventually bring $5 million in property tax revenue to Washington County per year. Assessor Lil Perry told supervisors this week that would be the case if they adopted a special valuation ordinance that increases the tax rate annually by 5%. Perry recommends supervisors look into the special ordinance, as it would help keep the revenue local. They appointed a special committee this week to do just that. This year the Iowa legislature approved allowing wind farms to enjoy both the special valuation and a state tax credit.

Crop Update

Crops in southeast Iowa are doing well after last week's heat wave, but some areas still need to dry out. USDA statistics show 37% of area topsoil moisture at a surplus, with 41% of subsoil moisture in the excessive range. The corn stand is at 90% with an average height of 36 inches, while 90% of soybeans have emerged. Southeast Iowa's alfalfa crop has been hard hit by heavy rains and high humidity. The first cutting is more than 25% behind the statewide average.

Washington Council to Talk Personnel

Personnel issues are on the table for Washington City Council members tonight (7/1). They're slated to continue discussions on setting cost of living salary adjustments for non union employees. This was a contentious issue at the last meeting. They'll also consider establishing a new supervisory position in the water and waste water departments, and confirm an appointment to a city accountant position. The meeting starts 7:00 tonight (7/1) in the Washington Public Library.

Marek: More Cuts Likely

An Iowa lawmaker from Washington County expects more state cuts this fiscal year. Representative Larry Marek says all arms of government are exploring ways to save money. He says the legislature is trying to keep next year's session as short as possible, while the judicial branch is looking at more furlough days. Iowa's new fiscal year started today (7/1).

Dr. Plattenberger Contracted for Jail Services

The Washington County Jail has hired a doctor to provide health care to inmates. Sheriff Jerry Dunbar says they'll continue their contract with Washington County Hospital. He says Dr. Robin Plattenberger is a good fit for the position. Dunbar says it will cost them a little more per visit. However he says Dr. Plattenberger can offer them a wider range of services.

Extension Offers Food Safety Training

With the threat of food-borne illnesses always an issue, the ISU Extension will be offering a way to prevent these diseases. On July 21, the extension will be holding a food safety seminar in Burlington which will teach participants the proper ways to clean, prepare, and handle foods which could potentially carry bacteria. The program is being offered as part of the National Restaurant Association and the Iowa Food Code.

Wapello Student Appointed to Leadership Role

A Wapello High School student was recently appointed to a leadership in a prominent anti-smoking organization. Bailey Wonders was elected to the executive council of Just Eliminate Lies, and Kaitlyn Wintermeyer, tobacco control project coordinator in Louisa County says Wonders is perfect for the job. Wintermeyer says the JEL chapters in southeast Iowa high schools focus mainly on raising awareness of the tobacco industrys influence on youth. She says as part of the executive council, Baileys duties will include a lot of meetings and organizing statewide events.