O'Brien County's Bell-Times-Courier -

Supervisors Reaffirm Workforce Development Region Abstain Mental Health Care Vote


March 12, 2020

Supervisors Reaffirm Workforce Development Region Abstain Mental Health Care Vote

By Mari Radtke

Counties have some choices when acting within State regional organizations. One of the organizations that a county wants to maintain a strong working relationship is workforce development. On Tuesday the O'Brien County Supervisors approved authorization for John Steensma, Chair, to sign the "Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement Forming the Local Workforce Development Innovation and Opportunity Act of July 2014." Counties participating in this intergovernmental agency in addition to O'Brien are Kossuth, Emmet, Dickinson, Osceola, Lon, Sioux, Clay, Palo Alto and Buena Vista.

Mental Health care has been regionalized by the state of Iowa also. O'Brien County has long been a member of Northwest Iowa Care Connections. In November, O'Brien County gave notice that they would be leaving and joining Sioux Rivers Regional Health Care on July 1, 2020. In the meantime, several counties were interested in joining Northwest Iowa Care Connections. On Tuesday the O'Brien County Supervisors were asked to vote on resolution 2020-4; a Resolution approving Winnebago County to join the NW Iowa Care Connections Region. Feeling that O'Brien County would be leaving the region soon and voting on such an action would be inappropriate, Dennis Vanden Hull moved with a second by Sherri Bootsma to abstain from voting on the action. The motion to abstain from a vote on membership in Northwest Iowa Care Connections was approved.

County Engineer Scott Rinehart was unable to be present on Tuesday, but had provided the county auditor with an application and information to present to the supervisors. The application is for FAST Act funding to pave 6.899 miles of County Road M-12. The paving would be from County Road B40 (Primghar blacktop) north to Highway 18.

The FAST Act if a federal funding program. This project is scheduled to be part of the SWAP program in which the county may be approved for the project and then trade federal dollars with the State of Iowa for state money, making the project less restricted. The funding if for fiscal year 2024 and has an estimated price tag of $1,680,000. The chair was authorized to sign the application for the funds.

Al Giese attended the March 3 meeting representing the Bio-diesel industry. Governor Kim Reynolds signed Executive Order #5 requiring all state diesel vehicles to be D20 compatible. The EO is similar to Minnesota. Several other Midwest states are slated to put pressure on the federal government in support of bio-diesel. Giese also reported that most manufacturers already are marketing D20 compatible diesel engines. The EO would not apply to any currently owned vehicles or equipment. Giese had secured support via proclamation from Dickinson County supporting the purchase, going forward, of diesel equipment and vehicles that are D20 compatible. The effort is in response to the ongoing struggle between oil and renewable fuels. Giese asked O'Brien County for the same supportive proclamation.

While the supervisors expressed support for the bio-diesel industry, they waited for confirmation from the county engineer to go so far as to sign a formal proclamation. That support has since been obtained. The proclamation is on the Tuesday March 10 agenda.

Iowa has 43 ethanol production facilities and 11 bio-diesel facilities.


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