County Health Officer David Rhodes was present during the Oct 21 Board of Supervisors meeting where he presented the first reading of a new countywide nuisance abatement ordinance. 

“We’ve been working on this environmental health nuisance for a few months now and I’ve gotten together with Al Wilson and we wrote one up that we would like to try putting in place for the county,” said Rhodes. “This will be the first of three readings with one happening now, one in two weeks and the last in another two weeks after.”

“So we won’t take action on this until the third reading correct?” asked Supervisor David Dotts.

“That’s correct,” said Secretary Denise Becker. “This is just the first reading today.”

“I just want to make it clear to the public they will still have an opportunity to voice their opinion,” said Dotts.

“Correct, that’s why you have three readings,” Rhodes added. “If anyone wants to see copies of this ordinance, they can be picked up from me or at the auditor’s office.”

“It’s not just a nuisance, it’s an environmental health nuisance,” Rhodes stated. 

“I don’t know how you plan to do anonymous calls,” said Supervisor Tom Swearingin.

“I’m not going to take anonymous calls,” said Rhodes. “They are going to have to come in and fill out a form that is public knowledge at that point as well. Once they fill it out and sign it they are admitting they will go to court.”

“I can’t enforce this in towns either,” Rhodes continued. “They have their own ordinances.”

Jesse Ross from Lucas County spoke to the board regarding property in Wayne County they are interested in purchasing to have a 1,000-yard gun range on.

“I am a contractor for a defense company and we teach long range precision shooting all over the United States,” Ross began. “We teach civilians, law enforcement and former military. My wife and I have been looking for a piece of ground that is large enough to have a few acres and a piece large enough to have a 1,000 yard range on it and bringing in a few classes to teach there.”

“This would be a private range so it wouldn’t be open to the public,” Ross added. “We would also live there on the property. I talked to the DNR and Iowa Range consultant and he didn’t see any issues with it but he did say I should come before the Board of Supervisors and tell them.”

“So it would be private and not open to the public?” asked Swearingin.

“Yes we talked about it and discussed maybe four or five events in warmer months when starting out,” Ross said.

“So someone in county could sign up for these classes?” Swearingin asked.

“Yes there is a fee and they would have to go through a 100-yard seminar before they could get into anything like that,” said Ross. 

Ross informed the board they would be bringing in bulldozers and putting up berms every 100 yards. The land they are in negotiations with owners to purchase is on the Iowa-Missouri border eight miles south of Allerton.

“It is my understanding this would be very disciplined,” said Swearingin. “A controlled environment. I personally don’t have a problem with this.”

“Do you need approval for this by the county?” asked Supervisor Don Seams.

“No the DNR just said we should run it by the county to make sure they didn’t have any issues with it,” said Ross.

“I don’t have a problem with this as long as the neighbors don’t,” said Seams.

“We will work to make it as safe as possible and we don’t want to upset any of the neighbors,” said Ross.

In other business Treasurer Kim Swearingin requested a suspension in taxes at the property located at 219 North 7th Street in Seymour due to a financial hardship. The 2018 taxes were suspended in the amount of $1,314. 

Truett Pershy with Cook Insurance along with Heith Hockenberry of Jester Insurance Services were present to discuss insurance options with EMC for property and liability insurance within the county. Quotes were given to the board to look over and they would be in contact with Pershy with any further questions.

County Engineer Randy Zerr informed the supervisor’s trucks were currently being serviced to prepare for upcoming winter months. Zerr also stated Greg Fortune would be the 2020 Weed Commissioner beginning January 1.

Seams was also designated as the official supervisor for the Iowa Workforce Development. 

When asked for public comments, Rhonda Bennett with the Times-Republican questioned the board why the newspaper has not been notified from the county regarding money missing from the WRD Landfill.

“I would like to think the TR has a very good working relationship with the supervisors and the courthouse, but I would like to know why we were not notified about the $62,000 that was stolen from Wayne-Ringgold-Decatur County Landfill?” asked Bennett. “We know a press release was sent out to the county attorney and the auditor, but we were not notified. I would also like to know why there were no charges filed, as $62,000 is a lot of money. One-third of that is $20,000 so do we have an extra $20,000 sitting around to be stolen?”

“To answer that we could not release anything until the investigation was done,” said Dotts.

“Which was October 10 when it was completed and information released,” said Bennett. “I would like to know why no charges were filed and who is on the board for the landfill?”

“I am on the board and that will be coming up,” answered Dotts.

“I would appreciate keeping us notified as the way I found out it looks bad, it looks like it’s being swept under the rug,” Bennett stated. “Especially if there are still ongoing charges.”

“I apologize for not notifying you as I found out myself on the WHO radio station and by the time I assumed you had already seen it,” said Dotts.

“I’d also like to know if restitution is being made?” asked Seams.

“The court will take care of that,” said Dotts.

The next regular meeting for the Board of Supervisors will be held on Nov. 4 at 9 a.m.

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