OSAGE | During a board meeting Tuesday, July 10, Mitchell County Attorney Mark Walk discussed possibly expanding the board of supervisors to five members.
Walk noted Linn County moved from three to five members, increasing the supervisors' budget by about 66 percent.
To facilitate the change, Walk said county residents could petition the county for a vote.
The petition can be signed various places in the county, including the Mitchell County Auditor's Office in the courthouse. A minimum of 550 signatures is required before the measure can be voted upon, which would involve choosing one type of representation.
One involves reapportioning the county, so voters in the county's five districts would only vote for a representative for their district. This is the system Mitchell County currently uses.
Another allows supervisors to be elected at-large by all voters within the county.
A third option is for supervisors to live in a represented district, but all county voters could vote for them.
According to Walk’s preliminary study, he thinks the whole process could take until 2021, before new supervisors would be seated. However, he said more study would be needed before he could be sure of the date.
Supervisor Joel Voaklander, who is in favor of the current system commented, “People now complain that two people can run the county. With a five-member board, two won’t then be running the county, three people will be running the county.”
Supervisor Stan Walk said he was also in favor of having a three-member board. Supervisors Steve Smolik didn't comment during the meeting.
In other news, the supervisors:
• Received a report from Mitchell County Engineer Rich Brumm. Brumm said a road project budgeted at $600,000 is now close to $1 million to $2 million, in comparison to similar projects in Worth County. A bid letting for a miscellaneous paving project is scheduled for 9 a.m. July 31.
• Instructed Brumm to look into the problem of drainage water backing up into Bob Lohuis' farm buildings. Lohuis told the supervisors culverts near his farmstead are inadequate to handle the water.
• Heard from Dean Pohren, who was concerned about the Port Authority. Pohren told supervisors he didn't think it was fair two of the counties in the Port Authority would vote on proposed pipeline expenses in Mitchell and Worth counties. Pohren said officials from Cerro Gordo and Winnebago counties wouldn't have financial responsibility for measures they would be voting on.