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Home Base Iowa Builds Roots in Mahaska County

It was made official yesterday, Oskaloosa and Mahaska County have become a Home Base Iowa Community. This initiative was put forward by Governor Terry Branstad and Major General Tim Orr. “As a veteran, I think it’s a great opportunity,” said Henry Van Weelden, Mahaska County Board of Supervisors, Vice Chair.

Weelden began the ceremony with his remarks about Oskaloosa and Mahaska County being the perfect fit for a program like this. Last week at the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors meeting, Dave Swenson an Economic Representative from ISU. Weelden stated Oskaloosa is a micropolitan, a city between being big and little. Noting that, “we stand out on top. Retail sales are up, population is up.”

At last week’s board meeting, Swenson provided the board, and public, statistics about the economy within the city of Oskaloosa.

One interesting topic that Swenson touched on was the inflow and outflow of workers in Oskaloosa. There is an estimated 6,877 payroll jobs in Oskaloosa since 2014. Only twenty-nine (29) percent of the workers were residents of Oskaloosa, forty-seven (47) percent were from Mahaska County. More people that reside within the city limits actually work outside of the city, roughly 3,800. Only 2,015 residents that live in Oskaloosa stay in Oskaloosa to work.

 

Oskaloosa community

 

By bringing veterans and transitioning service members into the Oskaloosa communities, not only able to create jobs in the city but retain employment of these service men and women through this program.

Oskaloosa Mayor Krutzfeldt spoke yesterday of this newly instated program. “But know this, Oskaloosa wants and needs veterans. Not only because we want to grow our population, but because we know veterans are the right kind of people to have as citizens in Oskaloosa.”

Mayor Krutzfeldt continued to say that veterans are the right kinds of people to have in Oskaloosa. Today’s veterans have history of great work ethic, look for better ways to get job done, they’ve been asked to do more and do it faster, and work with others as a team. They show loyalty, determination, passion and patriotism.They take care of their neighbors, as well as their properties.

Some of the appeals Oskaloosa has for veterans are:

  • Low interest loan from the Mahaska County Revolving Loan Fund.
  • City of Oskaloosa – 0% first time homebuyer loan for anyone who hasn’t lived in Mahaska County in the last three (3) years.
  • The three hotels in town have deep discounts for those looking to visit or here for a short extended stay.
  • Bank Iowa discounting closing costs on residential loans by $500, free year of lockbox and discounting commercial loans.
  • The Chamber is offering a free one year of membership.
  • The Mahaska County YMCA is offering a one year free family membership.
  • Mahaska Young Professionals (MYP) is offering a one year free membership.
  • Mahaska County Recreation Fund is offering a free 15-mile trail ride to view Oskaloosa form the outside.
  • Free transportation around Oskaloosa when riding the Oskaloosa Rides bus.

“These are the folks that can develop our community.” Mayor Krutzfeldt said, “So while Oskaloosa is thankful to be designated as a Home Base Iowa community, please understand we do so understanding the community is the great beneficiary here.”

For  more information about the Home Base Iowa program visit www.homebaseiowa.gov.

For any questions about the Home Base Iowa program within Oskaloosa or Mahaska County, contact Deann DeGroot with the Mahaska County Agricultural and Rural Development (MCARD)

Phone: (641) 672-2591

E-mail: mcard@mahaskacounty.org

Mahaska County Board of Supervisors Receive Bids for Property

The Mahaska County Board of Supervisors met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday morning and the major topic of discussion involved bookkeeping and adjustments among county services and employees.

The Board approved a consulting fee of $23,400 to Elert & Associates to look at the current communication system for the emergency services within the county. The consult will help determine what system Mahaska County will need for a long-term solution.

The Board also heard from Heather Gross regarding AmeriHealth business agreement with the new privatized Medicaid system, which has gone into effect this month in the state of Iowa. AmeriHealth is the primary provider within Mahaska County among the three approved companies for the privatization plan. The discussion will continue at a special meeting next Monday.

The Board also approved a one-year agreement with Carosh Compliance Solutions, from a recommendation from the HIPAA committee. Carosh will focus on case management for compliance with protected health information within the county. The contract was approved for $13,750.

In other business:

  • The Board approved the second reading of a speed ordinance for the county road just north of KBOE Radio and waived the 3rd reading, due to a lack of opposition to the ordinance
  • The Board set a hearing date for an ordinance regarding roadway and bridge construction for the May 2nd meeting at 9 AM
  • The Board received bids for a county farm property, and will determine the highest bidders for the two parcels of land next Monday

The next meeting of the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors is set for Monday, April 11, in the Mahaska County Courthouse in Oskaloosa. The meeting will be called to order at 10 AM.

Local Option Sales Tax Informational Meeting Explains Process

The Mahaska County Farm Bureau sponsored an informational meeting on the process of the Local Option Sales Tax Thursday night at the ISU Extension office in Oskaloosa.

Tim Johnson from the state Farm Bureau office in Des Moines was the speaker who went through the entirety of the process. The Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) has been in the headlines recently in Mahaska County, as it has been 15 years since the last election.

There are 11 jurisdictions that will have separate votes on the LOST that can be used. The current estimate of funds from the tax should all 11 jurisdictions pass it will be around $2.17 million. Oskaloosa creates 90% of the county’s revenue, so should Oskaloosa not pass the tax, there would only be around $220,000 for the rest of the county to share for various purposes.

The distribution shares are decided by population. The current distribution shares see Oskaloosa receiving 47.2 percent of the tax. The Mahaska County Board of Supervisors oversee the rural area of the county, which has 39 percent of the shares. New Sharon gets 4.7 percent, and the rest of the county’s small towns receive 9.1 percent.

By the estimates, Oskaloosa will get about $1.2 million dollars in the tax this year, and the Board of Supervisors will control about $800,000, should all jurisdictions pass the tax.

The tax must come to a vote if a petition is passed with five percent of the county’s voters signing it. Such a petition was brought to the Mahaska County Auditor’s Office a few weeks ago.

The ballot language must be set for each jurisdiction by the end of February to give a full 60 days for voters to know the language ahead of the May 3rd special election.

The new tax will begin on January 1, 2017, should it pass at each jurisdiction. The current tax will expire on December 31, 2016. If the vote fails, there is still time for each jurisdiction to change the ballot language and have a new vote, as long as there is 60 days in between the language announcement and the special election.

When the tax appears on the ballot, the precise percentages for each project or fund will be listed along with the term of the tax, and the public will vote “yes” or “no” to the tax. The tax will be one penny per dollar.

There are ways that each jurisdiction can repeal their tax, but any change in the tax can go in effect on the January 1 or July 1 following the change.

The LOST has come into the public’s eye in Mahaska County due to a disagreement on where the funds should go, specifically the portion that is controlled by the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors.

There was no discussion of the potential uses for the tax at this meeting.

The City of Oskaloosa has jumped on board with a proposed Recreation and Early Childhood Education Facility that will upgrade the YMCA. Supporters state that this new facility will be a major recruiting tool in the efforts to grow Oskaloosa and the rest of Mahaska County.

For the project to be completed, however, the committee overseeing the project has stated that there needs to be financial support coming from the Board of Supervisors. The Supervisors, specifically Mark Doland and Mike VanderMolen, have stated that they are not sure that the facility will ever be self-sustaining, and that this was a prime opportunity to fund the Environmental Learning Center by Caldwell Park and continued work on the county roads around the county.

The debate will continue until the ballot language must be completed in February. The special election is set for May 3rd. We will have continuing coverage on the topic on KBOE Radio and on kboeradio.com.

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