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Local News

March 8, 2014

Roads, healthy lifestyles discussed at Eggs & Issues

OSKALOOSA —

Road maintenance issues and healthy lifestyles were some of the topics of discussion at Eggs & Issues Saturday morning.

Due to county political conventions, the state lawmakers who usually participate in the legislative forum could not attend, so local community leaders spoke about issues. Oskaloosa City Manager Michael Schrock Jr., Mahaska County Supervisor Mike Vander Molen, Mahaska Health Partnership CEO Jay Christensen and Natalie Spray of Blue Zones fielded questions from the audience.

During opening statements, Schrock said the city is still within its budget for snow removal and it still has 300 tons of salt available for any more snowstorms.

“It has been a somewhat of a challenging winter,” Vander Molen said. County officials have had to keep its eye on over time and salt costs.

City Council member Tom Walling said that the 1 cent local-option sales tax will sunset soon and he thought it should be renewed for roads and infrastructure.

Vander Molen said the county's portion of the local-option sales tax has been used for property tax relief. Since the tax will sunset in 2016, county officials need to start discussions on any future use.

“We need to have a discussion if we want to use it on roads,” he said. If so, then which roads to repair, he added.

Schrock said road repairs could be financed with property taxes, but that is not popular. He said the local-option sales tax is a significant income source — about $1 million per year. That could finance one big street project and several small ones, he added.

Forum moderator Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt said the City Council is determined to finance street repairs. If people have other priorities for the local-option sales tax revenue, they should tell the City Council, he said.

University Park Mayor George Toubekis asked Vander Molen about the status of finding a new county engineer.

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