At the Henry County Supervisors meeting yesterday morning the Board heard a presentation from the Southeast Iowa Ridge Blasters Snowmobile Club. They are seeking support for an approved trail system through Henry County. According the members, this plan would have advantages for themselves….and the county. One of the biggest such advantage is the liability insurance that would be provided through the DNR. But that comes with approval from the County Engineer and Supervisors. And it’s that liability that County Engineer Jake Hotchkiss is concerned about. He also cautioned the Supervisors that rural residents may have concerns and complaints as well. He also was not completely in favor of the snowmobile club mowing and maintaining the trails during the offseason. Hotchkiss would rather that be done under the supervision of the county. He did say that he was willing to work with the group for locations and suggested the idea of starting with less miles than the proposed 100 miles. The Supervisors will study the issue and hope to get back to the club in two weeks.
Also at the meeting, the Supervisors met with county department heads. Treasurer Ana Lair reported nine million dollars in property taxes collected in September and of that one point six came in on the last day of September. John Pullis of the Conservation Department announced that the Oakland Mills campgrounds and the Nature Center will close for the season on October 15th. After the closure the Nature Center will be re-sided. Sheriff McNamee reported that the jail population is down. He also stated that staffing is back to normal with the hiring of three jailers and three deputies. The Viper Communications System has been installed along with new phones and computers. His staff will be responsible for security during a murder trial that is slated to begin October 28th. It could last two to three weeks. Assessor Gary Dustman reported that three VanGuard representatives continue to work in Mt. Pleasant. They are doing residential assessments with work expected to be complete after the first of the year. Veterans Affairs Coordinator Rick Van Winkle says that the agency’s presence at Old Threshers has generated a lot of business for him regarding veterans gaining benefits. Unfortunately the current government shut-down means vets’ claims are not being processed but he is continuing work to get the claims submitted.