Moving forward

County adopts Green Mountain sewer project resolution, hear update from YSS director

After about a decade of planning, the Marshall County Board of Supervisors moved forward with a wastewater treatment facility project in Green Mountain at Tuesday’s regular meeting.

“We really feel that the important thing is to help Green Mountain help themselves by getting this sewer system started, and this is the very first stage of it: the land for the three cells of the ponds for the sewer processing center,” said Board Chairman Bill Patten.

He said many of the town’s residents use their own individual sewer systems, which can cause issues later on. In the resolution adopted in a 3-0 vote, the county approved the funding, final selection of route or site location, and authorization to acquire private property needed to complete the project.

“Most of the lots in Green Mountain have their own sewer system, a septic tank,” Patten said. “As these septic tanks wear out, there’s no more room in that lot to place a new one; you can’t put a new one on top of an old one.”

When that happens, he said those properties cannot be sold, and property owners may not be able to get a bank loan for home improvement.

“This thing has to be taken care of, or what’s out there is going to, over the next few years, diminish very much,” Patten said, adding that cleanup of those properties would fall to county taxpayers.

Board Vice Chairman Dave Thompson said the county will use many funding streams for the project, which is set to take up over five acres of privately-held land.

“We’re looking at receiving a community development block grant from the federal government for this, we’re looking at Rural Water making a USDA loan … for the ag area,” he said, adding it’s possible that the county will use low- and moderate-income housing funds for the project. “We will qualify both for the community development block grant and for the (U.S. Department of Agriculture) loan.”

Thompson said the county was “proactive” in looking for funding before the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) could order the county to pay for the project.

“The [USDA] loan will be paid back by the rate payers in the community of Green Mountain, and that there will be no effect to the property taxpayers in Marshall County,” he said.

If negotiations for the purchase of the land area needed do not succeed, the resolution allows for the county to acquire it through condemnation procedures. Negotiations over the land are ongoing.

Youth and Shelter Services of Marshall County Executive Director David Hicks presented a first quarterly update to the board on Tuesday as well.

“We’ve definitely had a busy first quarter, we don’t anticipate that slowing down much,” he said, adding the agency saw 39 early interventions in the first quarter, up seven from the same time last year. “Those would be our crisis calls, our walk-ins , or anybody in need of immediate services that have to be addressed at that time.”

Out of the 39 early interventions, Hicks said 12 involved people 18 years old or younger, and said the county’s financial support of services to young people is appreciated.

Hicks also said the agency is now able to help families, rather than only individuals.

“HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) has allowed us to use our transitional living program for families now,” he said.

Hicks also shared results from a statewide study on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in adults. Some examples of ACEs measured in the study included physical, emotional or sexual abuse, substance abuse in the home, mental illness of a family member, incarceration of a family member, divorce or separation and domestic violence.

“Some of the data I want to share with you: the results for the ACEs study show that 56 percent of Iowa adults reported at least one ACE … 14.5 percent experience four or more ACEs, indicating a significant level of childhood trauma,” Hicks said. “In Marshall County, 13.2 (percent of) adults reported four or more ACEs.”

Marshall County’s percentage was higher than Story County’s 10 percent, and was comparable to Jasper County’s 13.5 percent.

The study’s purpose was to see if there is a connection between childhood trauma and health issues in adults.

“Marshall County ranks high in ACEs, but we do have agencies that are addressing those needs,” Hicks said.

In other business

The board approved a consulting engineering contract with Calhoun-Burns and Associates Inc. for improvement of a county bridge.

“This is an engineering contract for Bridge F-04, it’s a high-truss on Jessup (Avenue) … it’s west of Albion,” said county Engineer Paul Geilenfeldt. “It’s one of our more difficult bridges to keep maintained because it has a timber deck and it has bus traffic.”

Because the size and length of the project is outside of the county’s bridge standards, Geilenfeldt said it’s necessary to get a consulting contract.

Also approved was a certificate of substantial completion of the Marshall County Courthouse elevator upgrade project with Hay Construction Services Inc. The original contract sum was $373,000 and the certificate came in at $382,718, including a $9,718 change order.

The next Marshall County Board of Supervisors meeting is set for 9 a.m. Oct. 31 in meeting room no. 2 on the third floor of the Marshall County Courthouse, 1 E. Main St.

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com