Supervisors Speak With State Legislators, Approve Bond Bid
Emmetsburg’s own Senator Jack Kibbie and Representative Marcie Frevert met with the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors during their weekly meeting on Dec. 18. County Engineer Joel Fantz was on hand to share bonding information that was presented to the public with the legislators.
“We presented this information at meetings in Emmetsburg and throughout the county. There are a lot of things outside the Board of Supervisors’ control, things like commercial property tax and how there’s no rollback on that,” began Fantz. “The main issue with folks in Emmetsburg was that trucks aren’t paying their fair share to the damage they incur. The other thing that came up was hog confinements and below ground pollution prevention exemption and why are we still doing that, and why aren’t they taxed as ag property. Overall, the feedback was that we have to do something with the roads. But since it’s such a big deal, I really needed to brief you before this happened.”
“I haven’t heard much negative,” said Kibbie. “I’m glad they addressed all those issues. They’ve been around for awhile and Marcie and I have been on the right side of them.”
“We just wanted to make sure you were aware of those issues,” Fantz responded.
“Property tax is a $300 million issue,” Kibbie stated. “We could put a freeze on rollback on residential–I don’t see a problem with that–and start using that money to bring down commercial. If you look at this formula we use now, property taxes are going to start going up over agriculture and just the prices going up.”
Kibbie referred to a recent meeting he had attended in Estherville where the topic of taxation was discussed.
“It’s all they talked about, but they don’t want to tax pickup trucks and they don’t want to pay for more, but they want more. It’s the story of our life,” noted Kibbie. “Everybody wants to get rid of the potholes, but they want somebody else to pay for it.”
Kibbie continued, “I admire you for putting this bonding thing together.” The Senator referred to a handout regarding Senate File 339, the bill that allows counties to bond without the issue being put to a public vote. “We passed the bill in the Senate by a vote of 49 to zero.”
Kibbie noted that it would take a special session of the legislature to focus on property taxes.
“And it’s going to take people who aren’t afraid of getting defeated over the issue,” agreed Rep. Marcie Frevert. “It’s one of those things that needs to be done and probably the best start in the right direction is giving that seventh penny of SILO tax statewide for school infrastructure. It really, truly needs to be done. But if we lower the commercial rate, someone else is going to pay more.”
Frevert continued, “It’s going to take leadership to get this done and pressure from boards of supervisors.
In other business related to bonding, the Supervisors entertained two loan bids on the bond following the loan resolution that was approved at the Dec. 13, meeting of the board. Bids on the $5 million loan came from Piper Jaffray & Co. of Leawood, KS for 4.355947 percent and from DA Davison of Minneapolis, MN for 4.573100 percent. Piper Jaffray was awarded the winning bid for proposing the lowest interest cost to the county. The Supervisors then unanimously passed a resolution to enter into a loan agreement with Piper Jaffray.
The board also designated the following banks to be depositories for the County Treasurer’s funds in the amount not to exceed $15 million per financial institution: Wells Fargo, Emmetsburg; Iowa Trust & Savings, Emmetsburg; Bank Plus, Graettinger; West Bank, West Bend; Iowa State Bank, Ruthven; and Laurens State Bank, Emmetsburg.