On Thursday, several county residents voiced their support for a Local Option Sales Tax during a public input meeting with Mahaska County Board of Supervisors.
Twenty speakers stood before the board supporting the approximate $800,000 be used towards the construction of an Environmental Learning Center, enhancements to secondary roads and the creation of a modern YMCA that will feature early childhood education and expanded recreation opportunities.
During a regular Board of Supervisors meeting Beth Danowsky and a team of YMCA supporters discussed how to move forward with the county to possibly receive funding for the $24 million project.
Danowsky claims the facility “designed to meet the needs” of the community, would also benefit those who live outside of the city limits as 20 percent of the YMCA’s membership is made up of county residents.
During discussion board Chair Mark Doland says that following last week’s input meeting, he now believes there is more support within the county for the project than he originally thought.
Regardless of these testimonies of support, board member Mike Vander Molen says he does not support county financing for the new facility.
“At the end of the day there is only so much meat on this bone,” he explained. “There is only $800,000 and [the Environmental Learning Center] is a $3 million building that we have to finance. After that I don’t know know what [our funds] are going to look like.”
To move forward with the Local Option Sales Tax to fund any of these proposed projects, the board must receive a petition from half of the county. From there the item will be added to the ballot for voters to decide.
During the meeting the board also:
• Accepted first quarter reports from the County Auditor and Veteran’s Affairs office.
• Approved a 28E agreement with South Central Behavioral Health Region.
• Approved a revised budget for Veterans Affairs office.
• Supported Mahaska County Conservation Board’s land acquisition.
• Discussed RCF demo estimates
• Approved the creation of a sub-committee regarding County Communications Systems.
Story provided by Danielle Lunsford