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Floyd County supervisors approve next steps in districting process

By Bob Steenson, [email protected]

The Floyd County supervisors approved a couple of items toward getting everything tidied up in the new supervisor districts Monday morning, and also discussed drainage districts.

The board approved the recommendation of the county Temporary Redistricting Committee, accepting the supervisor districts and precincts that had been developed by the state Legislative Services Agency.

Board Chair Doug Kamm asked the same mostly hypothetical question that a member of the Temporary Redistricting Committee had asked, about what would happen if they didn’t pass it.

The new supervisor districts are already being used, because filing nomination papers for county elected offices has been going on since March 7 and will end at 5 p.m. this Friday, March 25. Nomination papers have already been taken out and returned for supervisor candidates in specific districts.

Supervisor districts are required after county voters approved making the county a Plan 3 county at a special election held last summer.

Under Plan 3, supervisor candidates have to be residents of the district they are running to represent, only residents of that district can sign valid nomination papers for candidates seeking to represent that district, and only residents of a district can vote to elect that district’s supervisor.

Everything is being done at the last minute, with more state involvement than would usually be necessary, because the results of the 2020 Census from the federal government missed statutory deadlines, largely as a result of difficulties conducting the census during the pandemic.

The supervisors also approved an agreement with the city of Charles City, combining Charles City Precinct 3 with a portion of rural St. Charles Township so that, along with Charles City Precinct 2, it can create Supervisor District 2. Splitting part of a township and adding it to the city precinct was the simplest way to meet the equal population legal requirement of supervisor districts.

The agreement sets those rural residents to vote at the Charles City polling place at Trinity United Methodist Church. The agreement makes clear that rural voters will vote only for county, school, state and federal elections, not in city elections, even if they are being held at the same time.

Also at the meeting, the supervisors discussed problems with two drainage districts. The county is not technically involved in drainage districts, except where they involve county property, but by law the supervisors are the trustees of the 34 drainage districts in the county. Expenses to maintain and repair drainage districts are assessed against the property owners in the district.

In the Washington School Watershed District Priority Area No. 3, new Floyd County Engineer Jacob Page said some trees need to be cleared to open obstructions. Through a previous agreement establishing this watershed district in part to control flooding, costs are paid 25% by the county, 25% by Charles City and 50% by the property owners.

The board approved authorizing Page to proceed to correct the problem.

In Drainage District No. 3, Page said some beaver dams toward the west part of the district needed to be dredged out to prevent flooding. He said it was a problem probably beyond the capabilities of the secondary roads department and would require a contractor.

But County Auditor Gloria Carr said the district, established in the early 1900s, was set up originally where everyone paid for the costs, rather than the way it is supposed to be now where the costs of maintenance or repairs are allocated according to how much properties benefit from the improvements.

She said her office struggles doing assessments for the district and said a reclassification is probably needed. But, she said, in addition to the cost of the reclassification, that effort is likely to find additional significant problems in the tiles that need to be addressed.

Page said the beaver dams should really be cleared this spring to avoid flooding on county roads in the area, but Supervisor Doug Kamm said if they start a reclassification the work probably won’t get done until next spring.

Supervisor Roy Schwickerath said they really need to get going on this, and Supervisor Linda Tjaden moved that Carr contact the county’s drainage engineering firm, Bolton & Menk, to begin the process. The motion passed 3-0.

Also at the meeting Monday morning, the board approved the hiring of two equipment operator II employees for the secondary roads department, to fill two openings. The persons hired are Collin Retterath and Troy Schriever.

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