At their April 16 meeting, the Fremont County Board of Supervisors heard comments from the public about a proposal to close 262nd Street over Interstate 29 and vacate the land. After several landowners objected, the supervisors agreed they would not close that road.
According to Fremont County Engineer Dan Davis, the Iowa DOT offered the county $1.5 million to close 262nd Street at I 29 and vacate the land, because the DOT tries to eliminate Interstate overpasses whenever possible. Davis said he was not for or against the proposal but wanted to hear from the landowners who would be affected. The boardroom was filled with landowners from that area, including Richard Payne, Mike and Virginia Heng, Greg Dixon, Lori Hopkins, and John and Margaret Brust, many of whom had taken the long route from NebraskaCity to be present for the discussion.
Payne told the supervisors he had 700 acres of farmland on one side of the interstate and his grain bins on the other side, and he was very opposed to the suggested closure and vacation. The Hengs were worried about the three-phase power they had there and how loss of that would require generator use instead. The Brusts were also worried about losing three-phase power, as well as access to grain storage and the parking area for their equipment.
The group talked about the condition of the road there and the fact it didn’t appear to be as damaged by the flood as expected. Fremont County Supervisor Dustin Sheldon asked the group of farmers where their next available place to cross the interstate would be, and was told miles down the road. He was concerned about possible issues regarding emergency vehicle access, such as fire trucks or ambulances, as well as safe crossing at the next available location.
After additional discussion, Davis and the supervisors agreed there was no need to hold a public hearing, because they would not be closing and vacating the road. The group of landowners all thanked the supervisors, saying they weren’t sure any other county would have turned down the money for the sake of the landowners.
Steve Nadel of Ahlers & Cooney attended the meeting by phone to talk about the upcoming landfill bond. Nadel told the supervisors this would be a general obligation bond undertaken by the county, with the landfill paying for the debt service. He asked if they wanted to update the 28E agreement or in any way or somehow ensure the landfill commission’s commitment to repay the debt was ironclad. The supervisors said they didn’t really foresee any issue, and didn’t think an amendment was necessary. If confirmation is needed, they will have the landfill commission prepare something.
Taylor Parton of Hamburg attended the meeting to offer the county $2,500 for the county-owned property located at 809 Ohio Street in Sidney. Parton said his house was one of those ruined by the flood in Hamburg, and if he was allowed to buy the property in Sidney, he would put a tiny house on that location.
Parton also mentioned he had heard other counties and states were offering property tax relief to the flood-affected, and asked the supervisors to consider doing that in FremontCounty within the next 90 days.
Deputy Fremont County Attorney Tyler Loontjer advised the supervisors they would likely have to accept bids and have a public hearing before selling the Ohio Street property. Fremont County Auditor Dee Owen told the supervisors the accessed value of the property in question was $4,060.
In other business, the supervisors:
- heard from Kasie Morris about cleaning services she could offer the courthouse;
- reappointed Twila Larson to the SIRHA board, upon that board’s request;
- approved allowing the signature of any of the supervisors in an emergency for levee flood control projects;
- approved payment of $19,623 from CDBG grant funds for Nishnabotna watershed project work;
- approved the annual noxious weed resolution, and
- approved resolutions to take action on the landfill bond and approving the official statement about the same by Northland Securities.