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Hancock County will file written comments on proposed carbon pipeline with IUB

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County supervisors cited a lack of communications on crossing county roads, open ditches, and drainage district tile lines on Nov. 29 after two meetings with Summit Carbon Solutions officials about their proposed carbon pipeline in Hancock County.

They reached a consensus to put their concerns into a letter to the Iowa Utilities Board, which would issue a permit for the proposed project.

“They need to know the concerns we have,” Chair Gary Rayhons said. “I can draft a letter and I can have it for next week. There is concern about Summit Carbon Solutions’ lack of communications on county concerns about roads and drainage districts and concerns of our residents.”

Supervisors Jerry Tlach and Sis Greiman and County engineer Jeremy Purvis will also provide their input. The board may then consider its official written comments to the IUB at its Dec. 6 meeting.

“The only way you can object is through the Iowa Utilities Board,” Greiman said. “At the last meeting, they kept referring to pipe work. That’s not really correct – it’s tile. It’s a private company (not a utility) and the Iowa Utilities Board can grant eminent domain.”

Purvis said company officials don’t seem to want to provide county officials with a map of proposed crossings and locations. Rayhons said the board will need specific roads and drainage district locations to be impacted as well as effective communication with company officials, because of some unique county drainage circumstances. He and Greiman both voiced numerous concerns about potential long-term adverse impacts on county drainage districts.

Ken Carlson of Britt questions pipeline company officials while Iowa's Consumer Advocate Jennifer Easler and Iowa Utilities Board staff follow the discussion..JPG

Ken Carlson of Britt questions pipeline company officials while Iowa's Consumer Advocate Jennifer Easler and Iowa Utilities Board staff follow the discussion.

“We are responsible for a lot of the things (in the process),” Greiman said during the public forum portion of the meeting. “In fact, we are the ones who sign off on it. I am concerned and really worried about this.”

“There have been a lot of dollars spent on drainage lines and if they do it wrong when they go across them, it’s going to be a problem,” Rayhons said.

Purvis also informed supervisors that he is drafting a resolution to increase the speed limit back to 45 miles per hour on James Avenue in Britt, near the intersection of 220th Street, after recent safety improvements. He said driver sight distance is good now despite some prior concerns about seeing around trees there. Supervisors approved a speed reduction from 55 to 35 miles per hour there in 2017.

Purvis said changes were made to stop bars near the intersection, providing better intersection sight distance, during a summer resurfacing project on 220th Street.

“They’re very noticeable,” Rayhons said of the stop bars. “I’ve really noticed them on all of the intersections you’ve done.”

Purvis said the secondary roads department conducted a traffic study from Oct. 12-26, which concluded it should be a 45 mile per hour zone. There has only been one accident at the intersection in the past 10 years. Purvis said it occurred at night and sight distance was not a factor in the accident. He said he plans to bring the resolution for the board’s consideration at the Dec. 13 meeting.

LifeLong Links Director Sandi Jackson informed supervisors of participation in the Iowa Return to Community program during her update on the Elderbridge Agency on Aging. The program will be focused on getting some county residents home from nursing homes and hospitals. It will provide necessary services to help avoid them repeated medical and care admissions. She called it a “great program” and said services could be provided under this program by late December or early January.

The Iowa Return to Community initiative provides long-term care support planning to assist non-Medicaid eligible seniors seeking to return home following a nursing facility or hospital stay. To participate in the Iowa Return to Community program, persons must be age 60 or older, not currently on Medicaid, and residing in a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation or hospital, with the intent to return home. The program can achieve cost savings for the consumer and the Medicaid program by delaying or avoiding Medicaid enrollment.

In other business, supervisors approved:

  • Resolution setting a 9:15 a.m. Dec. 13 public hearing on the county’s proposal to enter into a general obligation county purpose loan agreement to borrow money a principal amount not to exceed $2.325 million. Included are $1.6 million for a new county communications tower, $125,000 for courthouse roof repairs, and $600,000 for an east side courthouse vestibule.
  • Engagement letter for bond service legal counsel with Dorsey & Whitney Law Firm.

Rob Hillesland is community editor for the Summit-Tribune. He can be reached at 641-421-0534, or by email at rob.hillesland@globegazette.com.

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