March 20 news

JACKSON - The Jackson City Council met in regular session this week and Councilman Chris Vee was administered an Oath of Office for the seat he was appointed to March 4th.

A public hearing was conducted regarding AGCO’s application for Minnesota Investment Funds through the Department of Employment and Economic Development. Jackson Economic Development Coordinator Sue Persig explained AGCO was seeking $375,000 in forgivable funds from DEED using Minnesota Investment Funds for their Fast Forward program.

This is a three-year plan that started in 2013. With Fast Forward, AGCO plans to add $42 million in capital to Jackson. 40 percent of that will be in buildings with the rest in equipment. Persig made it clear that AGCO was not asking for tax abatement. The council approved the resolution with Councilman Vee abstaining.

ARNOLDS PARK - Meeting in special session on Wednesday, the Arnolds Park city council awarded a bid on a project to build a new shelter house as part of a series of renovations at the city park. City Administrator Ron Walker said the low bid of $362,860 was awarded to M & D Construction of Sheldon. He says the project is scheduled to start May 1st and will include several amenities, including a small kitchen and restrooms.

Walker says the project is being funded through a couple of sources – a $75,000 REAP grant, and the Okoboji Tourism Committee committed $250,000, or $25,000 a year over the next 10 years to help offset the cost. They hope to have the renovations of the park complete by mid September of this year.

OKOBOJI, Iowa - Thicker than usual ice cover on the Iowa Great Lakes will likely translate to later than usual ice-out dates this spring, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The DNR says the average ice-out date for Big Spirit Lake is April 4th. The agency's latest fishing report for Big Spirit says the lake still has 30 or more inches of ice in many locations.

Whether or not records will be broken for the latest the ice has gone out remains to be seen. The latest the ice has gone out on West Lake Okoboji is April 28th. That happened on two occasions--in 1951 and again in 1983.

The latest the ice has gone out on East Lake Okoboji is April 26th. That happened in 1951.

LARCHWOOD, Iowa — An area of farmland in western Lyon County was hit hard by flooding last year and there was significant soil erosion. Farmers in that area are now being advised of ways to retain their soil so that it doesn’t end up going down the Klondike Creek and into the Big Sioux River.

The Lyon County Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Lyon County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) are inviting the landowners and farm operators of the Klondike Creek Watershed to an upcoming Conservation Workshop, planned for Thursday, March 27th at the Larchwood Community Center (the old Security Savings Bank). It’ll run from 11-2 with lunch provided.

Field staff will be available to assist producers with structural practice estimates (terraces, grassed waterways, basins, etc.), updates on Conservation Plans for Highly Erodible Land and options for Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Please RSVP to the Rock Rapids Field Office by calling 712-472-4021 ext. 3.

MINNESOTA - After a verbal rebuke by Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota DFL Senate leaders jumped into action Wednesday in an effort to pass a massive tax cut package.
The House on March 6 approved a $500 million tax cut bill on a 126-2 vote that offered tax relief to many Minnesota families, and it scrapped several new business taxes.

Dayton had urged quick action in the DFL-controlled Senate. The governor said the bill needed to be on his desk by a Wednesday deadline in order for low- and middle-income Minnesotans to take advantage of roughly $57 million in tax savings in this tax-filing season.

But the Senate didn’t seem like it was in any hurry.

On Tuesday, Dayton made his first appearance at the Capitol in five weeks since his hip surgery, and hobbling on crutches, blasted his fellow DLFers for dragging their feet. A visibly irked Dayton said he was “very, very, very disappointed.”

Hours later, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, announced that the Senate Tax Committee would promptly take up the measure Wednesday and that the full Senate could approve it as early as Thursday.

The Senate version would offer tax relief to the tune of about $434 million, roughly $70 million less than the House; the House could either approve that version, or a conference committee of leaders from the two chambers could meet to hammer out the differences.

A central issue entangled in the dispute between DFL and Senate leaders was a proposal to build a controversial new $90 million Senate office building and parking ramp, which has become a political football. Senate leaders wanted House approval of the building before they moved forward with the tax bill, but House leaders refused, and Bakk relented on the point.

Meanwhile Wednesday, Senate Republicans say they want to bring Minnesotans permanent sales tax relief by lowering the state sales tax rate from 6.875 percent to 6.375 percent.

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This news that government gives support for projects really makes my day! Thank you for returning top the people. - Feed the Children

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