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September 26, 2021

8/3/2021 3:19:00 PM
Iowa County Board takes steps for broadband coverage

The Iowa County Board of Supervisors approved a pair of resolutions that will move broadband forward for the county.
Passed was a resolution that establishes a public-private partnership with Reedsburg Utility Commission and a resolution establishing a public-private partnership with MHTC.
The board will commit matching funds to support a grant application supported by the Public Service Commission. The county share will be 10% of the total project cost and will not exceed $500,000. Under the agreement the Reedsburg Utility Commission will have "lightspeed" gigabit broadband service available to as many customers as possible no later than December 31, 2024.
The agreement with MHTC calls for a 25% matching contribution of the total cost not to exceed $305,202.50.
County Administrator Larry Bierke outlined the application procedure for the grants the county is seeking and answered questions about how finances are affected.
The supervisors brought the Bloomfield Manor account up to date with a fund transfer.
The county owned nursing home facility has been operating at a loss and at the end of 2019 had a negative fund balance of $1,162,404.40. At last Tuesday's meeting of the Executive Committee the recommendation to transfer funds to balance the account was forwarded to the full board.
The money will be transferred from the county's General Fund.
The Land Conservation Committee presented the board with an updated agreement between Iowa County and the Cobb-Highland Recreation Commission for the operation of Blackhawk Lake Recreation Area. This was the first update since 2015.
A resolution was passed that creates funding for the dams at Blackhawk for cooperative contributions by both parties.
The agreement calls for a $40,000 per year contribution from the Capital Improvement Fund, not to exceed $300,000 for the dam replacement.
The board received an edited copy of the Highway Access Control Ordinance that defines pre-existing use driveway types and the level of allowed usage and restoration of them as allowed by the County Highway Improvement Plan. The ordinance was presented by the Public Works Committee.
Several zoning requests were approved by the board. They included:
-rezone 1.163 acres from A1 ag and B2 highway business to B2 highway business an 2.185 acres from A1 Ag and B2 highway business to AR1 ag residence in the Town of Linden for Randy and Patricia Davis and Susan Deronne Trust.
-rezone 1 acre from A1 agriculture and AR1 ag residential to all AR1 ag residential in the Town of Linden for Tyler and Erica Jenson.
-rezone two 15 acre lots from A-1 agriculture to AR-1 ag residence in the Town of Clyde for Paul Haviland and Regina Fischer.
In a related matter the board approved an ordinance amending the Town of Mineral Point comprehensive plan to remain consistent with residential development density standards.
The board received an update on the Badger Solar Farm project. There are new owners of the project and there have been some problems with receiving necessary parts along with some damage to modules with some damaged in shipment and others damaged with moving them around. The project is behind schedule but the project managers expect things to begin moving again with a lot of work done by 2022.
The board heard four people under public comment, two of them representing Pattern Energy who discussed the proposed wind project. There will be a public information meeting next Thursday at Belmont Convention Center from 6 to 8 p.m. There will be representatives from the company present to answer questions and review the project with those wanting information.
Chris Klopp also commented and warned the board that not everything is as straight forward as it seems about a project and asked the board to proceed cautiously.
Another speaker warned about the county becoming an industrial wasteland.
The board discussed proposed revisions to the board rules concerning public comment. An amendment was offered to have discussion relevant to agenda items and not a random topic.
Supervisor O'Brien said he would not like to see public input limited as people take time out of their lives to address the board and should be able to have their say.
The proposal is to have those wanting to address the board sign up by 4 pm the day of the meeting.
Supervisor Benish said he feels the county board is perhaps the only place people can come and speak and not feel disenfranchised. He said people should not be limited in what they want to say.
Supervisor Gollon said he values opinions on matters on the agenda that can be discussed and acted upon.
Chairman Myers told the supervisors they are elected to represent their people and while he is not opposed to public comment he feels it should be limited to agenda items.
The motion to establish a 4 p.m. sign up failed.
Seven supervisors, namely Davis, Benish, Storti, O'Brien, Masters, Richter and Grimmer, will serve as a redistricting committee.
The board went into closed session to discuss updates on the ATC/Cardinal-Hickory Creek lawsuit.

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