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January 15 is deadline for applying for new commercial property tax credit


December 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Thousands of commercial property owners in Iowa face an important deadline in five weeks, as they have to submt an application for the new tax credit Iowa policymakers have established. Courtney Kay-Decker is director of the Iowa Department of Revenue. “Just like when you first buy your house, you have to apply for the homestead credit, this is the first time that you’re going to be eligible for the commercial property tax credit and you have to apply,” Kay-Decker says, “and it’s by January 15th.” Some counties have the applications available online, which others require commercial property owners to submit paper forms.

“Each county is doing it slightly differently, because it’s local government,” Kay-Decker says. Commercial property owners who fail to meet that January 15th deadline will have to wait another year to apply for the credit. The governor and legislators hammered out a deal this spring which would reduce commercial property tax RATES in Iowa by 10 percent within three years, but the plan also created a new property tax credit for commercial property. Counties will get 50-million dollars from the state to create that tax credit at the local level. That means math must be done to calculate how to divvy up that money and determine how much the credit will be worth to each individual commercial property owner.

“So we’re working on software between the Department of Revenue and all of local governments which involves not only the assessors…but also the treasurers and the auditors to come up with how to do it, the technology to do it,” she says. “We’re, in fact, testing right now.” That computer software is being tested today (Wednesday) by officials in each of the 99 counties as well as the Iowa Department of Revenue. Kay-Decker says commercial property owners will find out in August or September how much of a credit they’ll receive.

(Radio Iowa)

Harlan woman hurt in Bluffs crash last week


December 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs report a woman from Shelby County was injured during a crash that took place last week. Information released this week indicates 51-year old Melinda Mathiasen, of Harlan, suffered serious, but non-life threatening injuries during the crash that took place Dec. 5th  on Interstate 29, near South 24th Street, in Council Bluffs.

Offcials say Mathiasen’s 1992 Lincoln Towncar was struck by a 2007 Nissan Sentra driven by 23-year-old Stephanie Jones, of Council Bluffs. The accident happened at around 8:30-a.m.  as Jones was traveling west on I-29 and attempting to merge into the left lane. As she was switching lanes, Jones’ car hit Mathiasen’s vehicle, which caused the Lincoln to strike sand-filled barrels along the road. Both cars spun around before coming to a stop.

Iowa News Headlines: Wed., Dec. 11th 2013


December 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press…

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The settlement of a lawsuit challenging a closed-door meeting last year regarding a former Des Moines superintendent has been finalized. A judge approved the settlement Tuesday between the Des Moines School Board and a former board member. The board will release audio and transcripts from a portion of an 80-minute May 2012 meeting. The settlement also includes the board’s acknowledgement it acted inappropriately by discussing matters that should have been public.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A memo sent by a former prosecutor was the latest focus of a trial in U.S. District Court in Sioux City alleging discrimination by a former U.S. attorney. The Sioux City Journal reports that one of former prosecutor Martha Fagg’s supervisors cautioned her about sending the memo to then-U.S. Attorney Stephanie Rose. The memo raised concerns that a personnel move could be seen as age discrimination.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Construction of a new Sioux City casino has been halted until litigation can be resolved between Iowa gaming regulators and the owner of the Argosy riverboat casino. The Sioux City Journal reports that Polk County Judge Robert Hanson granted a motion for a stay Tuesday in favor of Penn National Gaming Co. Penn claims the state violated the company’s constitutional protections, as well as state and federal law, in awarding a license to Sioux City Entertainment in April.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The state Department of Natural Resources says wildlife supervisors will be on Facebook on Dec. 19 to answer questions from the public. Karen Kinkead and Willie Suchy of the Wildlife Diversity Program will monitor a specific post for questions on anything ranging from animals in a backyard to out in the field. People can also post questions ahead of time on the agency’s page.

Judge halts construction of new Sioux City casino


December 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A judge has halted construction of a new Sioux City casino until litigation can be resolved between Iowa gaming regulators and the owner of the Argosy riverboat casino. The Sioux City Journal reports Polk County Judge Robert Hanson granted a motion for a stay Tuesday in favor of Penn National Gaming Co.  The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission awarded a license in April to Sioux City Entertainment to build the $128.5 million Hard Rock casino. The land-based casino is set to replace the Argosy.

Penn claims the commission violated the company’s constitutional protections, as well as state and federal laws in awarding the license to Sioux City Entertainment. They also say the commission ignored deficiencies in the winning bid.

IA Transportation Commission approves FY 2015 Traffic Safety Improvement Program projects


December 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Transportation Commission Tuesday, approved the fiscal year 2015 Traffic Safety Improvement Program projects. More than $8.7 million in safety improvements were approved for 46 projects. Among the projects in southwest & western Iowa:

Montgomery County received a requested half-million dollars to add six-feet of pavement to County Road H-34, to create a 24-foot wide pavement and rumble strips, and wide painted edges. The improvements are along a 3.25-mile segment of H-34, one-mile east of A Avenue to Fernwood Avenue. The total cost of the project is $546, 812.

The City of Crescent received a requested $50,000 from the Commission for work on the Old Lincoln Highway. The works entails a cut back from the south hillside, improve site triangle at the intersection of Old Lincoln Highway and Powells Addition. The project is expected to cost $50,000.

And, the City of Carroll received a requested One-half millions dollars for the widening of U-S Highway 30 to provide east-and westbound left turn lanes. The projects involves the replacement of traffic signals, providing protected/permissive east/west left turns, and an improve intersection radii, at the intersection of U-S 30 and Grant Road. The total project cost is $713,000.

Other funding from the Commission includes: $105,000 to replace traffic signals and mast arms in Denison, at the intersection of Iowa Hwy 39 and Avenue C. and $31,830 to removes traffic signals and replace them with 4-way stop signs in Onawa, at the intersection of Iowa Highway 175 and 10th Street.

If the total project amount is greater than the grant amount, the grant recipient will be responsible to provide additional funding.


Iowa Transportation Commission approves grant for Carter Lake


December 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Transportation Commission Tuesday, approved a Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy (RISE) Immediate Opportunity grant application submitted by the city of Carter Lake. Up to $815,291 will be made available to assist in the reconstruction of approximately 690 feet of North Fifth Street, approximately 1,286 feet of Avenue J, and approximately 690 feet of North Ninth Street located on the southwest side of town. This project is anticipated to be completed by September 2014.

These improvements are necessary to provide improved access to Paxton & Vierling Steel’s facility, which is a steel processing and fabrication facility and a subsidiary of Owen Industries Inc. The improvements will support the creation of 18 new jobs and the retention of 78 jobs along with $39,658,000 in associated capital investment.

Funding for the grant comes from the city share of the RISE Fund.

Feds back most of Iowa’s Medicaid expansion plan


December 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Federal authorities are granting approval to Iowa’s proposal to expand low-income health care. Officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service announced Tuesday that Iowa’s request was granted with “virtually all the initiatives the state has proposed.” But authorities are not giving the Gov. Terry Branstad as much flexibility as he sought to charge premiums to the very poor.

Iowa sought a waiver enabling the state to receive more federal Medicaid money for the proposed Iowa Health and Wellness Plan. The new health insurance program would cover up to 150,000 residents. The state wanted to charge small monthly premiums to those with incomes over half of the federal poverty line starting in 2015. Federal officials said Iowa could only charge those with incomes above 100 percent of poverty.

Proposed Jefferson casino details released


December 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Supporters of a proposed Jefferson casino say they’ve reached an agreement with the casino operator to share 5 percent of the revenue with charitable organizations in Green County and the surrounding counties.  Grow Greene County Gaming Corp., the nonprofit organization applying for a gambling license and Wild Rose Entertainment, the company planning to run the casino announced details of their operating agreement Tuesday.

Casinos in Iowa share an average of 4.1 percent of revenue with charitable groups. The state requires at least 3 percent. Tom Timmins, Wild Rose CEO says the Jefferson casino should generate $30 million a year, providing $1.5 million for charitable groups in Greene and surrounding counties.  Wild Rose operates casinos in Emmetsburg and Clinton. It’s proposing a casino, restaurant and hotel complex for Jefferson.

Cass County Supervisors to act on deputy sheriff appt. & purchase of a building


December 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors, Wednesday, is expected to act on approving the purchase of a building across the street from the courthouse in Atlantic. The building at 707 Poplar Street is currently owned and occupied by the Cambridge Law Firm.

Late last month at a meeting of the Cass County Public Safety Commission, Commissioner Gaylord Schelling, who also sits on the Board of Supervisors announced “We have a contract” for the purchase of the building. It remains to be determined whether the lower level of the Cambridge building will be used for a new 9-1-1 Center, or the offices of the County Assessor and Engineer. Moving those offices would likely open-up enough space for an expansion of the current Communications Center on the lower level of the courthouse. Discussions on how to handle the space needs of the Cass County 911 Center, along with new equipment necessary for Next Generation 911 (NG-911) services, has been ongoing for more than two-years.

The Supervisors are also expected to act Wednesday on approving a Resolution proposing the County lease a portion of the Cambridge Building to the law firm following its purchase, for more than three-years. A public hearing will need to be held on the matter before the move becomes final.

In other business, the Board will act on a Resolution approving the appointment of a deputy sheriff, and increasing the number of deputies by one. Their meeting begins at 9-a.m.

2 arrests Tuesday in Montgomery County


December 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Montgomery County report two arrests early this (Tuesday) morning. Officials say 30-year-old Stephen Ray Adams was arrested at around Midnight, for obstruction of emergency communications. Adams was transported to the Montgomery County Jail and held on $300 bond.

And, officers with the Red Oak Police department arrested 48-year-old Michelle Marie Adams on a domestic abuse assault charge. Adams was brought to the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Center and held on $300 bond.