Meet the candidates 2022: Jarret Heil
What is your personal and professional background, and why have you decided to run for Marshall County Supervisor?
Heil: I was born and raised in southern Marshall County working on the family farm managing a small hog operation. I have a Business Management degree and Spanish minor from Central College. I spent four years working in Senator Chuck Grassley’s Office in Washington DC and three years working for Congressman Tom Latham in his Ames office. I’ve been the Marshall County Treasurer for 12 years and the President and the legislative liaison for the Iowa State County Treasurers’ Association. I am a member of the St. Francis School Board and my wife, four children and I are active members of St. Francis Parish. I decided to run for the Board of Supervisors because in the last three years as the Treasurer and taxpaying citizen, I’ve witnessed a significant increase in the county’s property taxes. I believe I am a leader that can work in collaboration with county officials to be more efficient in our processes and work together with other local and state leaders to promote aggressive growth to bring taxes down and enhance the quality of life for our families.
In your view, what should the county’s spending priorities be, and how, if at all, would you change them if elected?
Heil: Trying to be debt free while increasing operations spending by 30% in the past decade has not worked and resulted in shrinking ending fund balances below the State’s recommendation and increased property taxes of over $1 million dollars this year on top of 5% last year and 8% the year before. But with solid long term planning, we can responsibly utilize financing to keep taxes low and get infrastructure projects paid for. Top infrastructure priorities should be roads and bridges, especially in our rural farm to market areas to make sure farmers are able to safely get their harvest to market. Our county parks that open the doors to growth opportunities are a priority as well. We need to focus on maintaining our county buildings and controlling our operations spending. I would like to have public goal setting sessions with our elected officials and department heads similar to what the City of Marshalltown does, as it allows all players to put their heads together with common goals to improve our processes and allow for easier long term budgetary planning.
The prolonged closure of the courthouse after the tornado has been an ongoing concern for residents of Marshall County. Do you think the project is back on the right track, and what, if anything, would you have done differently through the process?
Heil: I do believe the Courthouse project is back on track following the general contractor change and we are all looking forward to the reopening hopefully by year end. There are two things I would have done differently that would have saved considerable time on the project. First, once we knew the extent of the damage, we should have hired an independent construction manager who works for the County’s best interest. Their expertise would have kept the project moving, reduced costs and lessened the burden on our buildings and grounds and county auditor/recorder departments. Secondly, we should have borrowed the money during the historic low rates to pay for the code upgrades immediately instead of waiting months to determine if insurance was to pay or not. The upgrades needed to be paid for regardless of who was paying for it, so we should have paid it up front to keep the project moving. Saving time, saves money.
Marshall County has received over $7.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocations. Do you believe these funds have been set aside for worthy projects, and are there any changes you would advocate for if elected?
Heil: Marshall County had a great approach to the ARPA funds by creating an ARPA committee of elected officials and department heads. One of our first goals I suggested was to focus on infrastructure and projects of one time monies so that these federal funds would not bloat our operations resulting in increased taxes in future years. Scanning records, improving our county parks, equipment for 911 communications system, and upgrades at the Sheriff’s Office were great examples of this. I would not make any changes in our process, just continuing to meet with our committee on their goals until all the money is officially allocated and spent prudently.
Is there a project not currently on the board’s radar that you would like to tackle if elected in November?
Heil: For years the idea has been on the back burner to build a new secondary roads shop. Recent discussions have been to purchase land in the City of Marshalltown for this project. I’d like to revisit the original plans to build near the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office where Marshall County already owns property and determine the most cost effective and practical plan in place to put the project into motion. Additionally many of our gravel roads are in rough conditions and do not have the proper crowns or ditches to drain appropriately. I’d like to get a plan in place to rebuild those gravel roads without narrowing the gravel roads to the old 1960’s design so that the roads can appropriately handle current day farm equipment and vehicles; unlike how recently rebuilt gravel roads have been narrowed.
How would you work with other county and city agencies if elected?
Heil: I would continue to do what I have done as Treasurer. I am open to dialogue with anyone who inquires with the county in how we do our work and how we can work with others to improve our community. I’ve served on the Marshalltown Downtown Implementation Committee as a county representative. I’ve worked with our towns on abandoned properties with tax sales to allow our towns to clean up areas of their community. I’ve attended volunteer fire department meetings to assist with their firefighter license plates. I love hearing the ideas people have to better our community and I am driven by the challenge to put ideas into reality in a fiscally responsible way. As the 15th largest county we must have all local leaders working together for the common good to promote aggressive growth for more opportunities for families to thrive and grow in Marshall County.
Why are you the best choice to represent the citizens of Marshall County?
Heil: I live my life with a servant’s heart. If elected, the people of Marshall County are my boss. I will listen and be open to any idea that could improve our community. My door will always be open as your representative and I will utilize my resources and State and Federal connections to benefit our county. I’m a proven fiscal conservative that guides my decision making to develop long term planning to keep your taxes low today and into the future. I’ve done it as Treasurer, finding efficiencies, reducing staff and saving your tax dollars all while instilling above and beyond customer service to the people of Marshall County. I’ll continue that as your Supervisor you know you can trust! I’d appreciate your vote on June 7!