Supervisors sign letter supporting $25.5M Iowa Central referendum

The Webster County Supervisors voiced their support at Tuesday’s regular meeting for the Iowa Central Community College bond referendum, which will be voted on on Feb. 6.

The bond referendum would be for $25.5 million.

In a letter which got a unanimous vote of approval Tuesday morning, the supervisors said Webster County supports Iowa Central’s requirements necessary to serve and equip members of this region.

Iowa Central President Dan Kinney told the board the funds would enable much-needed updates to infrastructure on campus, allowing the college to train workers for today’s industry. A new student services building and security upgrades throughout campus will be included.

Iowa Central has been a very good partner any time Webster County works to get companies to locate their business here, said Supervisor Keith Dencklau.

“I’ve been to a lot of meetings with Iowa Central when we’re trying to attract somebody here,” Dencklau said. “They’re a huge partner in the success of bringing them here.”

“It says a lot — every year that I’ve been to D.C. to lobby for the county, Iowa Central has been a great partner with that,” said Supervisor Mark Campbell.

The college also enabled one of the region’s big producers, CJ Bio America, to quickly and efficiently move in next to Cargill.

“It was CJ’s most successful start of any plant they’ve ever had,” Campbell said. “We were just recently in Minnesota speaking with Cargill, and they commented how fast and how quick they were able to get their plant up and going with CJ, because of the training provided by you.”

CJ Bio produces an amino acid for use in livestock production, using product it buys from Cargill.

Kinney said budget cuts have hit Iowa Central particularly hard recently when it comes to what they can spend on infrastructure — and the community college doesn’t get specific funding for buildings from the state, like the regent universities do.

“Our infrastructure come from state general aid, or raising student tuition,” Kinney said.

About a year ago Iowa Central sought a $29.5 million bond issue which was defeated by a slim margin during a referendum vote in December 2016.

“Unfortunately that bond failed by just a little under 150 votes,” Kinney said. “I think a lot of people were confused as to where it was going. I think we’re doing a better job of getting out there. Now that the holidays are over, you’re going to see a lot more in the newspapers.”

Before the referendum in February, citizens can vote early beginning on Monday Jan. 8, said Webster County Auditor Doreen Pliner. Visit the county auditor’s office for an early ballot.

Voters will be asked to show a photo ID such as a driver’s license, Pliner said. If they don’t have one, they can sign a form attesting they are who they are, and the voter’s identity will be verified through questions.

Registered voters who don’t have a license should have received a voter ID card in the mail last month, she said, with a personal identification number provided by the Iowa secretary of state.

Anyone who’s not registered to vote yet should register by Jan. 26, Pliner said. Those signing up after that date will have to follow the same day registration procedure, which requires either a photo ID or some other form of proof of identification such as a utility bill.

Ballots can also be mailed in before the election day. To receive a mail in ballot, visit this page at the secretary of state’s website.

Contact the Webster County auditor at 573-7175 or your local county auditor for more information.