Supervisors Hear PACEDC Quarterly Report
Economic development progress throughout Palo Alto County was a topic of discussion at the Jan. 17 meeting of the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors. Maureen Elbert provided the supervisors with the quarterly report for Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation (PACEDC).
“October was an extremely busy month,” said Elbert. “We had a lot of different meetings, and one in particular that I was able to go to was one linked with Mainline Energy, the transmission wind power company, which could affect us down the road for potential options for not only new wind projects, but also potential business.”
Elbert shared that the Iowa Wind Energy Association now has a port on their website identifying properties that are available throughout the state of Iowa. Currently, Emmetsburg’s Skyjack and SNC buildings are listed.
“We’ve actually got a hit on the website,” Elbert said. “There are so many great things about the Skyjack building, and we’re going to put a lot of heavy marketing initiative on it.”
She noted that, through Mid Iowa Growth Partners, Loopnet is available to them, as well. Loopnet is a website that identifies available properties and buildings.
“In December I went to a conference that worked solely on site selecting and initiatives on what you need to put in place,” said Elbert. “When I had my one-on-one with four site selectors, our ‘synchronist’ is very, very strong.”
Elbert shared that PACEDC had been complimented on how their websites have grown and received “facelifts.”
“On our Palo Alto County website, we have had a 14.7 percent increase in hits from last March–when we had our old website–to now, with our newly re-enhanced website,” she shared.
Elbert explained that she recently hosted a meeting for city clerks.
“City clerks are now able to get certified through the state by going to our meetings,” said Elbert. “Any city clerk can now earn CEU unit hours.”
She added that the next city clerk meeting will be held in Mallard on “junk and nuisance” ordinance.
“North Iowa Council of Governments will be coming to do the delivery on that and show different examples of ordinances and resolutions,” Elbert noted. “In June, we’re opening the meeting up to everybody and will have State Auditor David Vaudt come and talk about our state budget and what kind of internal financial procedures you need to have in place.”
Elbert went on to explain that the city clerks were adamant about having this topic discussed because of so many embezzlement issues throughout the state of Iowa.
“This isn’t just for city and county, but other entities are high on the list for embezzlement, too,” said Elbert. “So, we’ve allowed the cities to open up and invite those individuals who are at high-risk. We’ve already got reservations for this, so that’s good.”
In other business, Elbert noted that the strategic plan is coming to an end for Mid Iowa Growth Partners.
“This month, we will be getting our final results from that and what processes we are going to be putting a lot of dollars towards,” shared Elbert. “I think we all agree that what we started with–a marketing regional group–is what we need to stay focused on. We were starting to veer off from that and I think everybody has been reeled back in and agree that’s where the money needs to go.”
Elbert also noted that she will be going to the Legislative Day for Professional Developers of Iowa (PDI) on Feb. 1.
“I had a recent conference call with the past presidents of PDI and there are some things that could affect our area definitely, and that is TIFF (Tax Increment Financing), the Enterprise Zone, and Road Use Tax,” Elbert said. “We have some things we’re going to be discussing in detail and have another training before we go talk to our legislators.”
Elbert asked the supervisors if there were any county issues that need to be shared with the state legislators.
“Mental health, if you want to work on that,” offered Supervisor Keith Wirtz.
Supervisor Ron Graettinger agreed and added that Road Use Tax is an important topic, as well.
“Weight limit on corn wagons,” suggested Supervisor Jerry Hofstad.
“How about all the electric cars coming in and not paying any road tax,” said Graettinger.
“Road use was definitely on the agenda,” said Elbert. “If you think of anything else, just let me know.”
In other business, the supervisors appointed Cecilia Miller to the Western Iowa Tourism board, and appointed Duane Meyer as Highland Township Trustee. Meyer will fill the unexpired term of Pete Grange.