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Jasper County farmer wants more action from board on drainage issues

Published: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 11:09 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 11:31 a.m. CDT

Marion County resident Norman Van Zante, who farms in Jasper County, attended Tuesday's Jasper County Board of Supervisors meeting to present his concerns to the board on drainage problems in Drainage Districts 8 and 19.

Both districts are south of Galesburg and are along the South Skunk River's banks.

Van Zante said he formally came to the board with a petition to address this matter in 2011 and said he feels the issues still haven't been properly resolved.

“It's in disrepair and has been for years. I've been after them for years,” Van Zante said in an interview after the meeting.

He said he consulted with an attorney, who then contacted the board on the matter. According to Van Zante, the county is supposed to appoint an engineer to study the area to find solutions.

Board Chair Joe Brock said they will further investigate the matter but said he felt the county had previously addressed Van Zante's concerns. Jasper County Engineer Russ Stutt also was present at the meeting and said that in either 2011 or 2012, his office did around $20,000 in repairs to the drainage systems.

He said this is around the legal spending the limit the county is allowed to meet. Stutt said they can do basic repairs on the area but aren't authorized to do a full-scale construction project.

“I thought we did quite a bit of work,” Stutt said in an interview after the meeting.

“To tell you the truth, I was under the impression that the work we did had satisfied everybody in the area,” Brock said during the meeting.

Brock later asked Van Zante if he could bury past issues on this matter and let the board help him resolve the current issues at hand. He said he wanted to consult with Jasper County Attorney Mike Jacobsen and Stutt to look more into the issue.

“You have my commitment with this, and I'll get started on it,” Brock said.

After the meeting, Van Zante said he just wants the drainage systems to be repaired until they meet what the original specification were.

One down and two to go for the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department, as the board approved Ryan Engle as its newest deputy.

Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty said Engle is a Baxter-native and prior to his appointment, he served as a reserve deputy. According to his Facebook page, Engle is a 2011 Baxter High School graduate and studied criminal justice at Indian Hills Community College and Buena Vista Universtity.

Engle will begin work on Sunday, June 6 and the sheriff's office still has two open deputy positions.

In other business:

• An appropriation resolution was passed for the 2014-2015 fiscal year budget, which began on Tuesday. The resolution authorized FY 15 funds for each of the county's departments.

• The board informed representatives of U.S. Communities they would further research the organization before voting on whether or not to become a member. USC is a bulk and discount purchasing group specifically created for governing bodies and nonprofit organizations.

• A liquor license was approved for the Baxter Fun Days Truck and Tractor Pull.

• Mary Sellard was approved to serve a four-year term on the Jasper County Library Board beginning on July 1 and ending June 30, 2018.

• Newton Main Street Director Andrew Bassman asked the board to consider appointing a county representative to the Main Street board.

• Halferty said the Jasper County Law Center suffered a severe lightning strike Friday but was still able to conduct business. He said insurance will cover the damages and estimated the amount of damage could be up to $100,000.

• Ryan Van Mannen and Michael Cooper were hired as seasonal employees for the Secondary Roads Department. Each man will make $14 per hour and work on an as needed basis.

• Malaney Burton, Ricy Nearmyer, Amanda Taylor, Larry Opfer, Marilyn Farver and Lori Jensen received approval for fireworks permits.

• The board held a closed session to discuss patient care quality and process improvements.

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

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