Board hears updates on libraries, Alliant plant

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS Frigid weather has befallen central Iowa, and weather forecasts are predicting cold temperatures over the next few days. Kenn Vinson, of Alliant Energy, said the steam blow process at the Marshalltown Generating Station is set to end around Dec. 20. The hot steam is easily visible in the cold air.

Updates, updates and more updates given at the Marshall County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning.

“Overall, the project is about 97 percent complete,” said Kenn Vinson of Alliant Energy on the construction of the Marshalltown Generating Station. “We expect the plant to go online… in April (2017).”

In his project update presentation to the board, Vinson said labor at the construction site is beginning to “ramp down,” adding there are around 600 workers at the site.

To date, Vinson said a total of about $41.5 million has been spent on the project. Additionally, he updated the board on the steam blowing process currently taking place at the plant, saying the process is necessary to clean piping.

“That steam is being exited out the plant … it’s cleaning the pipes,” he said. “You need to have pretty much 100 percent clean steam.”

Because of the construction process, Vinson said unwanted particles may exist in the station’s piping, and blowing steam through helps clear any unwanted debris. He said some noise complaint calls from nearby residents have come in, and that all have been understanding of the necessity of the process.

“We know it’s loud,” Vinson said. “We’re very thankful (that) people understand why this is being done.”

Tentatively, he said the steam blow process is set to be done Dec. 20, though a change in the situation may necessitate a change in completion date.

Also discussed at Tuesday’s meeting was the state of the seven public libraries in the county, located in Marshalltown, Albion, State Center, Melbourne, Gilman, Laurel and Le Grand.

Shelley Barron, director of Le Grand Pioneer Heritage Public Library, presented the annual report.

“City public libraries are funded by both their city and county,” Barron said. “The (county) money comes from the rural services fund.”

She listed the benefits local libraries have for the county’s communities, including help with work documents, printing, internet access, help with homework and research, and their role as places of community gathering.

“The library … basically is a community center,” Barron said.

She presented some facts and figures to the board. The seven public libraries in the county have a total operating cost of $1,205,205, and circulation costs totaling $295,978. Barron added that $34,866 of the circulation costs come from rural residents.

“We take our operating expenses and divide that by… our circulation (costs) and come up with about $4.07 to circulate an item,” Barron said.

This year, Barron said the libraries in the county are asking for $100,000 from county funds, and added that figure is about 29 percent less than the cost to serve rural residents.

No action was taken by the board on the library information as it was a presentation and no issue was up for approval on the agenda item.

In other business, the hiring of two new jailers was approved by the board, both at a rate of $17.42 an hour.

“Those are replacement individuals for people who have left our employment,” Supervisor Dave Thompson said of the new jailers. Additionally, the board approved the hiring of Mary Swartz as temporary, part-time, interim mental health advocate at the board of supervisors office.

Board Vice Chair Bill Patten explained the approved decision, which took immediate effect, was not listed on the original agenda, but that it could be added at the meeting because of the interim nature of the position.

“You do not need to post (within the required notice period) for a part-time, interim (personnel actions),” he said. “The interim (period) may last a few weeks, maybe a month.”

Board Chair Denny Grabenbauer said all Marshall County Courthouse offices will be closed on Friday, Dec. 23 and Monday, Dec. 26 in observance of the Christmas holiday.

The next Marshall County Board of Supervisors meeting is set for 9 a.m. Dec. 27 in meeting Room No. 2 on the third floor of the courthouse.