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Ordinance 61 gaining momentum after first public hearing Tuesday

Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 10:58 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 11:00 a.m. CDT

If Tuesday’s first public hearing on Ordinance 61 during the Jasper County Board of Supervisors meeting is any indication of what is to come, the formerly unpopular ordinance may be approved.

Jasper County Sanitarian Kevin Luetters said the public’s input from the previous hearings helped influence the changes.

“The only two changes I made since last time, were I pulled the 200-foot rule out of local Jasper County ordinance,” Luetters said. “I’ll just use the state code and I rewrote the campers (regulation).”

A representative of Central Iowa Water Association asked Luetters why he pulled the 200-foot rule.

“It was more restrictive than the state, what I had (proposed),” Luetters said. “I had 200 feet from the property line, the state code said 200 feet from an actual building.”

Luetters provided an example of why he made the change using the same analogy a representative of the Farm Bureau provided him with during a previous hearing on the ordinance.

The same representative was present at the hearing and said, “We were a little worried, at first. I think we are satisfied here at the Farm Bureau, at how things have progressed now.”

Board Chair Dennis Stevenson commented:

“From the get-go we said we were going to have all three readings on this because we knew there was going to be controversy,” he said. “This is the way that the process is supposed to work. Even though we have rewritten it, we are going to do all three readings. We can come up with a good ordinance that will best serve the public. I think the process is working.”

The second public hearing will take place next Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the courthouse.

The board also approved Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott’s resolution on allowing electronic bidding, which was put to use after a short recess, where the county then received bids on its General Obligation Refunding Capital Loan Notes, series 13 in the amount of $1,690,000.

Stevenson said that the notes were existing bonds and not new ones and the county was just refinancing them.

FTN Financial Capital Markets of Memphis, Tenn., placed the winning bid of $1,681,683.75 coupled with a true interest rate of 1.0530 percent were reasons the board chose them. The county estimated that putting the loans out to bid, would net a savings of $83,568, however, the offer from FTN will allow the county to save $122,110.

Public Financial Management Employee John Burmeister who advised the county on the process of putting the loans out to bid was very pleased with the results. He also mentioned that the county’s Aa2 credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service played a big role in attracting bidders.

Some of the strengths Moody’s listed were “sound financial operations supported by healthy General Fund reserves” and “continued trend of modest tax base appreciation.”

“My advice to you is keep up the good work,” Burnmeister said to the board. “That strong rating has attracted underwriters who are fighting over themselves for these notes.”

Five bids were placed in total and some of the losing bids came from Kansas City, Denver, Houston, Chicago and New York.

“I’ve had to bite my tongue in the past (with clients),” Burnmeister said. “It’s good to come and work with folks like you who want to save money.”

The board also approved a universal credit card policy for all county employees, the deeds for last week’s property sales, an appropriation resolution for the 2013-2014 fiscal year budget. The appropriation resolution would allow the auditor’s office to suggest changes that the board would have to approve, if deemed necessary at later date now that the budget has been passed.

Another item of note is the board approved County Engineer Russ Stutt’s request to set up a road vacation public hearing for April 23. Stutt noted that the section of road that would be about a mile and it is located in Independence Township in Jasper County. Stutt said that he received four letters from property owners within the vicinity of the road who all made the request, he said the owners complained of people dumping trash, four wheeling, and making a mess of the roads in the area.

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

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