Can city and county achieve unity on issues?
Recently, the Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors called a meeting with representatives of different city governments in the county, to discuss issues from economic development to bike paths - and to pursue an agenda-stated goal of area unity.
Kathy Evert, President and CEO of Iowa Lakes Corridor development organization, said communities must take an active role to realize the business and industrial growth they desire.
"We are not here to do all your economic development," Evert stated. "When we talk about economic development we do not mean a new bagel shop but helping you package your community to help companies already here and new companies."
The ILC covers four counties of Buena Vista, Clay, Dickinson and Emmet, and can seek grants for various forms of funding.
Buena Vista County Supervisors chairman Bill Lanphere pointed out that due to new state regulations, counties that were not part of groups like ILC would be shut out of money for economic development in some programs.
Storm Lake City Administrator Patti Moore noted that Cherokee County and the City of Cherokee are interested in restarting inmate labor. It was shut down last year because of transportation cost.
"We are working on bringing the program back, but for it to work and be cost efficient then we need to have projects ready to have the buses packed," Moore said.
"There is some great talent there and not just people who pick up rocks - electricians, brick layers and other important skills," Lanphere said.
It was also pointed out that the inmate project is not set up to take away work from contractors but to help the communities that do not have the funds to or staff to do some of the work.
Local cities were left to make the choice on whether to participate.
Another subject discussed was bike paths in the county. Justin Yarosevich, city clerk for Storm Lake, said there is hope that a bike trail will be created to help connect the communities in the county.
"Currently there are not state funds for bike trails," Lanphere responded. "But they are working having a trail from the lakes area that will go to Des Monies and Council Bluffs and communities will be able to attach to these trails. "
Discussion quickly moved to the proposed C-65 trail on the south side of the lake. "We on the board have been working on it and seeing what is best but right now we are holding to hear from the new state regulations," Lanphere said. "We do have plans to have a trail."
Lakeside mayor Gene Mandernach said his town is also looking at extending the existing LakeTrail, but made no promises.
"You guys have the same problem we do," Lanphere said, "Having enough room."
As for unity, Lanphere said it will be up to the various city councils if they want to continue joint meetings with the county on a regular basis. "It doesn't have to be all the time but I would suggest at least once a year and if something big comes up."