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Looking For A Helping Hand

By Staff | Feb 3, 2011

Palo Alto County Supervisors are trying to wrap up their budgeting process for the upcoming fiscal year, and received more requests for funding assistance in the process. The requests came during the Jan. 25 meeting of the board at the Palo Alto County Courthouse.

The supervisors received a request for continued funding from Hugh Lively, Executive Director of RIDES, the Regional Transit Authority in Spencer. Lively noted that in the past year, RIDES had seen an increase in usage in Palo Alto County, from 1,500 trips to 2,200 trips. That increase was due primarily to the resumption of transit services to Horizons Unlimited clients in Emmetsburg.

Noting that RIDES receives funding from the City of Emmetsburg in the amount of $9,000 yearly, Lively asked the supervisors to consider maintaining the same level of funding as in the past two years, the amount of $6,000.

The board took the request under advisement for consideration in the budgeting process.

“They do a good job with that service,” Noonan noted. “Being on the RIDES board went from being the hardest board to sit on to being the easiest.”

Rhonda Dean, Executive Director of the Centers Against Abuse and Sexual Assault (CAASA) also appeared before the board to request financial support for the next fiscal year. Dean noted that CAASA had not been funded for the 2011-2012 fiscal year because they had not requested funding early enough in the county’s budgeting process.

“I realize we are not funded this year, but in the past, we had been funded at $5,500 two years ago by you,” Dean noted. “For the upcoming year, CAASA would like to request funding in the amount of $2,500.”

In working with residents of Palo Alto County, Dean reported that 15 new adults and one new youth were served by CAASA in the past year.

The request was taken under advisement by the board for budget consideration as well.

The board also met with Ted Kourousis of Northwest Iowa Planning and Development to discuss a request for use of an economic development loan fund that uses funds deposited by the county several years ago.

“Country Maid of West Bend has requested a load of $100,000 from us, but the actual business is located in Kossuth County, even though it is in the city of West Bend,” Kourousis explained. “It’s in Kossuth County because that’s where the city built its business park.”

Supervisor Ron Graettinger expressed reservations, noting that the money from Palo Alto County was originally to have been refunded back to the county as part of an earlier agreement from a previous loan that the county had to pay back when the borrower defaulted.

“This is a good business and we need to support it,” observed Board Chair Keith Wirtz. “I think we need to move forward on this.”

“I think we should go ahead with the loan,” agreed Supervisor Jerry Hofstad.

Noonan also echoed his support of the loan.

“I understand where you’re at, Ron, but I think we need to move ahead and keep our county growing,” Wirtz said, as the board agreed to support the loan.