The Cass County Board of Supervisors had a very brief meeting this (Wednesday) morning, in Atlantic. The Board approved a Livestock Facility Construction Evaluation Resolution (commonly referred to as the “Master Matrix”). Auditor Dale Sunderman pointed out they typically wait until after the first of the year to act on the resolution, but the Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC) sent the information and forms out early.
He also said the County’s approval of the Master Matrix doesn’t guarantee a livestock confinement facilities’ application with the DNR will be denied, based on the scoring of the Matrix. He said “The DNR doesn’t have to listen to us, but at least they are basically obligated to listen to what local officials say, that they may bring up points they [The DNR] is unaware of.” That’s especially true, he says, if, when the board assesses the application using the Master Matrix, they [the applicant] doesn’t pass that point rating. Sunderman says “It’s a pretty good sign the DNR won’t approve of it…until the issues are reconciled.”
Cass County Supervisor Duane McFadden mentioned that the Iowa DNR (in Aug. 2014) issued construction permits for the “Circle G” and Geidel Pork sites, near Orient, despite the Adair County Board’s rejection of the application, based on the Master Matrix. He said Adair County twice denied the Geidel brothers all the points, but the DNR in its review added more points to the application. Sunderman said actions by the Board in denying confinement facility requests sometimes prompts the applicant to change their plan of operation slightly, to in-effect move-up their point rating. The Geidel brothers had each wanted to double their hog operations from 2,500 head to 5,000 head.
In other business, the Board heard an update from Cass County Engineer Charles Marker, with regard to various Secondary Roads Department activities. Marker said as far as the bridge on the Cass-Montgomery County line, the east abutments have been completed. He said the piles have been driven, and concrete pile-cap supports were being added as weather allows. A.M. Cohron is the contractor for the project.
Work is also nearly finished on the Interstate 80 bridge at the Marne Exit. The DOT is handling the project, and Marker says the bridge should be open soon.