Supervisors Discuss Local Option Sales Tax

The Mahaska County Board of Supervisors met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday morning, and discussion of the Local Option Sales Tax was the headline item once again.

The Supervisors wanted to continue to discuss what should happen with their portion of the penny tax, and in recent weeks, they have stated as a whole that they were not going to support the proposed Recreation and Childcare Facility for the tax.

During Monday’s meeting, Vice Chair Willie Van Weelden said he would be more open to the idea now that he believed the City of Oskaloosa would be owning the building. Supervisor Mike VanderMolen still said he wasn’t interested in putting the facility on the ballot because there were other things that the county needed to pay for, and he was not comfortable putting the taxpayers on the hook for a facility he was unsure was going to be sustainable long-term. This sentiment was echoed by Chair Mark Doland.

An impromptu public hearing then took place, as Oskaloosa City Manager Michael Schrock, Jr., Mike Shanahan from Secondary Roads, and Beth Danowsky of Mahaska Community Development Group were a couple of the citizens who spoke to the Board.

Schrock said that the city provides a lot of amenities and services to the county including the fire station, and this would include the Recreation and Childcare Facility. He said he hopes that help is reciprocated, referencing the county’s ability to help fund the facility.

Shanahan stated that the roads need more money to get all their projects done to repair the roads, and these are for people in and around Mahaska County. Danowsky has been one of the leaders for the planning of the Recreation and Childcare Facility, and said that she did not understand the details of the objections from the county. VanderMolen then explained that they do not want the county taxpayers on the books for 20 years for a facility that they are unsure will be sustainable.

Doland also added that they cannot put the facility on separately when the tax goes to a vote. It has to be on the ballot along with the Secondary Roads and Environmental Learning Facility, which are both getting, at least, a portion of the tax. Doland fears that the tax would get voted down from the county simply because the Recreation and Childcare Facility is a part of the group on the ballot.

The topic will continue to be discussed at a later time.

In other business:

  • The Board declined to grant a variance to Scott Shaw for his building, which is too close to the street. The Board did not want to set a precedent by allowing it to pass. They voted to allow Shaw 90 days to comply with the ordinance.
  • The Board passed road vacations at West Street in Lakonta and an Alley in Wright
  • The Board passed reclassification to Level C road service for part of Resolve Avenue and part of 300th Street
  • The Board spoke with members of the VFW regarding an opening of the Veteran’s Affairs Director position. They settled on an annual salary between $32,000 and $37,000, depending on experience, and the VFW will work on an ad for the opening
  • The Board discussed plans for the Residential Care Facility, formerly Country Life Health Care, and said they had not received any legitimate offers for the property at this point, and could look to demolish the building and fill in the lagoons in the near future.

The next meeting of the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors is set for Monday, December 21st, in the Mahaska County Courthouse in Oskaloosa. The meeting will be called to order at 9 AM.


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