Tuesday Afternoon News, February 9
Plymouth County Finances Are In Good Shape
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County's financial situation is in good shape, that according to Jeff Peters of Williams and Company auditing firm. Peters appeared before the county supervisors Tuesday morning to review the county's finances following a recent audit performed by the Le Mars company.
The supervisors were told by Peters that accounting requirements now include a new category regarding pensions and other benefits as provided to county employees by IPERs. Peters says Iowa and Plymouth County are in a good position to meet the payments of pension holders. The certified public accountant says the issue was brought to light when other states or municipalities are unable to meet the obligations of funding pension benefits.
Supervisors Approve Land Sale To South Dakota DOT
(Le Mars) -- In other action taken by the county supervisors, the supervisors approved an easement agreement with the South Dakota Department of Transportation regarding land adjacent to the Big Sioux River near Akron. A total of 14.23 acres will be sold to the South Dakota Department of Transportation for the amount of $135,000. Plymouth County will still have access to the land in order maintain the drainage area. The purpose behind the agreement is so the South Dakota DOT can abide by federal regulations requiring entities to replenish or replace lost wetlands.
County Board Approve New Three-Year Contract With Sheriff's Department Employees
(Le Mars) -- The county governing board also gave approval to a new three-year collective bargaining contract with employees of the Sheriff's office. That contract agreement, covers sheriff's deputies, correction officers and communication personnel. Salary and benefits are based upon the employee's job, rank, as well as their longevity time with the Sheriff's Department. Kurt Hatting, Director of the County Communications Division, and representative negotiator for the Sheriff's employees said it is a fair agreement.
Some Iowa Legislators Want The State To Distribute Medical Marijuana
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Some Republican House lawmakers are supporting legislation that would create a system for manufacturing, distributing and possessing some forms of medical marijuana in Iowa, though it's unclear what type of support the bill will get from party leaders.
The bill would expand the state's current law on medical marijuana, which allows some epilepsy patients to use cannabis oil. The new legislation would expand it to include more products and patients, though it would prohibit the smoking of medical marijuana.
Rep. Peter Cownie, chairman of the House Commerce Committee, discussed the bill during a press conference Tuesday while surrounded by a handful of Republican lawmakers. The West Des Moines Republican was vague when asked about the bill's support within his caucus. He asked lawmakers to keep an open mind.
Legislators Look At Increasing Speed Limits On Rural Roads
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers have advanced bills that would raise the speed limit on rural roads despite warnings that the change could lead to more fatal crashes.
A three-person subcommittee approved two bills Monday that would raise the speed limit on rural, two-lane roads. One bill would increase the speed limit from 55 mph to 60, and another would bump it up to 65 mph.
The bills now go to the full Transportation Committee.
Steve Gent, with the Iowa Department of Transportation, cautioned that increased speed limits are linked to a higher number of fatal crashes. He also noted it would cost roughly $5 million to implement changes including new mileage signs and road markings.
Pacific Junction City Clerk Charged With Unauthorized Expenditures
GLENWOOD, Iowa (AP) - A former Pacific Junction city clerk accused by state auditors of giving herself unauthorized Christmas bonuses and vacation and sick pay has been given probation and must pay a civil penalty of $625.
Forty-three-year-old Kari Williams, of Glenwood, pleaded guilty to tampering with records and was sentenced Monday to a year of probation. Williams was granted a deferred judgment, which means that if she successfully completes probation, the conviction will be wiped from her record. Mills County prosecutors dropped charges of theft and felonious misconduct in office.
Williams resigned in March before the results of the auditor's investigation were announced in April. The charges were filed in August following an investigation by the Mills County Sheriff's Office. The investigation found Williams took nearly $32,000 in improper payments.
Simpson College To Offer Shooting Club
INDIANOLA, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa college is sticking with its decision to hire a full-time coach for its shooting sports club, despite opposition from alumni and other supporters who say guns have no place on a liberal arts campus.
Simpson College President Jay Simpson said in an email that the school's board of trustees considered two dueling petitions about the student club's future at its regular winter meeting Friday.
Simmons said the board will still hire a full-time coach and that an offer for the position will likely be made to a candidate this week.
An online petition favoring a "weapons-free Simpson" opposed a $10,000 grant the club accepted from the National Shooting Sports Foundation in 2012. The petition asked the trustees to not hire a coach and to stop allowing firearms to be stored on campus.