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County economic development committee delayed

Staff writer

County commissioners at Monday’s meeting reviewed applications for a county-wide economic development committee, then decided to wait another week while they seek someone to work with the committee.

County clerk Tina Spencer gave commissioners copies of the applications for their review.

“I know you’ve said several times you don’t want this to be run by government officials,” Spencer said. “There are two in here that are.”

Applicants included Esley Schmidt, Walton; Jane Pigorsch, Lincolnville; Todd Heitschmidt, Marion; Rod Koons, Hillsboro; Tammy Ensey, Marion; Jim Hefley, Hillsboro; Russell Groves, Hillsboro; John Wheeler, Marion; Stan Thiessen, Hillsboro; Roger Holter, Marion; Chris Hernandez, Marion; Jared Jost, Hillsboro; Gene Winkler, Marion; and Craig Dodd, Hillsboro.

Commissioner Randy Dallke seemed to take offense at some comments on the applications, noting that “they have no faith is us as commissioners.”

Commissioner Dan Holub said a committee would not get far without sense of direction. He recommended locating a mediator to get the group started on heading in the same direction.

“What I look for is community involvement and a background in this,” Holub said.

Holub also seemed to take some offense at what some of the applicants wrote on their applications.

“When people on their applications are taking shots, there’s no reason to believe they’re going to sit down and work cooperatively,” Holub said. “We need to think out of the box.”

Dallke said he didn’t want to eliminate anybody.

Commissioners decided to wait another week to allow more time for interested people to apply and to locate someone to serve as mediator to help the committee set priorities and goals.

County residents Terry Everhard, Gordon Wiebe, Troy Wiebe, Evan Yoder and George Wait talked to commissioners about the condition of portions of Limestone Rd. and 90th Rd.

The men complained of washouts on a one-mile section of Limestone.

“It’s notorious, when you drive down highway 50 after a rain, you’re going to see someone stuck,” Dallke agreed.

The men said the road is a safety issue and GPS systems tend to route drivers down Limestone.

Spencer said that state law requires a petition to be raised and a public hearing to be held before a road can be closed. Commissioners decided to begin the closure process.

The men asked for gravel and sand to be added on 90th, to reduce dust.

Road and bridge superintendent Jesse Hamm said the county has been having difficulty getting sand and rock on roads because of rains.

In other matters, commissioners decided to see if the state historical society would approve the idea of using replacement windows on the courthouse instead of a more costly full restoration. Since the courthouse is on the historical register, the state has final say on whether less expensive replacement windows can be used, said architect Vance Kelley, who has been working with the county on window restoration.

“I think we need to delay the action and wait for the state to tell us whether they’ll accept it or not accept it,” Dallke said.

Last modified May 25, 2016

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