THE MIDAS TOUCH‎ > ‎2005‎ > ‎


The Employment Handbook: Understanding Personnel Law in Iowa for Cities and Counties

The Iowa Association of Regional Councils collaborated with the Iowa Department of Economic Development to produce The Employment Handbook, a personnel management guide for Cities and Counties. It addresses the primary issues of employment, beginning with the hiring process, moving through ongoing workplace administration issues, and ending with guidelines for termination. Written by Von Bokern Associates in December 1995, the Handbook has been updated twice, most recently in January of 2002.. MIDAS is pleased to announce that a 2005 Update is being prepared by the original authors, Von Bokern Associates, and is expected to be ready for distribution by mid October 2005. Some of the major changes that will be included in the update are: 

    Regulatory changes - Fair Labor Standards Act (overtime, definition of exempt employee, etc.); Job protections for employees on military leave; and

    Court Cases - Decisions addressing at-will employees, whistleblower statute, PERB jurisdiction, Iowa Civil Rights Act, compensation for commute time, and negligent hiring. 
MIDAS recognizes that some cities/counties will prefer to secure a totally new manual containing all of the updates, and some would prefer to receive only the updated sheets. We also recognize that some cities/counties will desire to purchase their initial copy of the popular Handbook. Therefore, we will offer a two tier pricing structure as follows:

    Full copy of updated manual $150
    Third Update only (changed sheets) $ 50

Please contact Shirley Helgevold (515-576-7183-212) or Steve Hoesel (515-576-7183-211) of MIDAS to place an order for either of the above options. Your order will be delivered to you as soon as we receive them and we will invoice your city/county at that time. The price for either option includes a training session that will be conducted by Von Bokern early in 2006. 

Small Towns and Economic Shocks - Business Networks and Entrepreneurial Communities

The Iowa State University Department of Sociology is presenting a sociology research symposium entitled Small Towns and Economic Shocks: Business Networks and Entrepreneurial Communities at the Scheman Conference Center in Ames on September 28, 2005. The program is designed for those involved in small-town government, economic development, education, business and community leaders. The program topics include: Community Change, Community Capital, Strengthening Economic Vitality, Resources and Risk Sharing, Economic Shocks, Building Business Networks, Who Owns Main Street and Farmer Entrepreneurship. Additional information about speakers and registration is from : Registration deadline is September 1, 2005

Unsewered Communities

The Department of Natural Resources has been cataloging and identifying all unsewered communities in Iowa, as defined by an incorporated community, or an unincorporated cluster of at least ten homes not currently served by a public sanitary sewage treatment system. The following have been found within Region V: 

Pocahontas County:
Calhoun County:
Wright County:
   Wall Lake
   Subdivision South of Belmond
   Elm Lake
Humboldt County:
   Subdivision West of Humboldt
   Subdivision South of Humboldt
Webster County:

The next step for IDNR is to identify action to abate the pollution that is occurring. At this time IDNR has not identified an abatement time table, but is beginning to consider such a schedule, along with reviewing alternatives to a central collection and treatment system. Those Cities and Unincorporated County Areas listed on the above list will find themselves targeted for later actions and would be wise to begin following this discussion. For those desiring to begin abatement efforts please contact Shirley Helgevold at 515-576-7183-212 for assistance in reviewing funding available. 

Iowa Waste Exchange Service

The Iowa Waste Exchange is a free, confidential and non-regulatory service that assists businesses with recycling and waste reduction within Western Iowa, including the MIDAS counties. The following table shows the statistical trend of the program during the past four years:

Client Contacts329406343390
Materials Listed214164114140
Material Matches103867258
Savings to Business$294,855$166,257$187,642$123,767

The past year saw strong plastic prices due mostly to the growing economies in China and India. Competition between on-shore Chinese brokers and regional recyclers has kept prices at historically high levels. As a result, more companies are now baling plastic wrap and selling it to Iowa processors in contrast to not being able to give it away four years ago. Some multi-county solid waste agencies are now accepting 1-7 plastics as opposed to only the traditional 1-2.

As of July 1, Wright and Hamilton Counties are served by Shelly Codner, (319-404-1942). Pocahontas, Humboldt, Calhoun, and Webster Counties are served by Fred Kesten (712-792-9914).

Great Places Invitations

The following Region V entities have applied for the Great Places Initiative: Humboldt County, Calhoun County, Webster County, Hamilton County, Pomeroy, Lake City, Fort Dodge, Belmond, and Webster City. A total of 145 invitations have been received and approximately three will be chosen for implementation. MIDAS has assisted with several through the development stages of their proposals.

Brownfield Funding Available

The Iowa Department of Economic Development has announced that applications will be accepted until October 14th, 2005 for up to $500,000 for the acquisition, remediation, and redevelopment of qualified Brownfield sites. Brownfields are abandoned, idled, or underused industrial and commercial properties where resale or redevelopment has been hindered by known or suspected environmental contamination at the site. Information and application forms are available from or . Financial assistance is limited to 25% of eligible activity costs and may be in the form of a grant, forgivable loan, conventional loan, or some combination thereof. 

Over a Cola

LandView 6 from the U.S. Census Bureau:. MIDAS often receives requests for census information for a community and a surrounding trade area. The community data is easy, but developing a radius database has been most difficult. Generally, we were required to estimate those requests, often with a diminished quality. MIDAS is pleased to announce that help arrived from the census in a computerized program called LandView 6 that enables the MIDAS Planner to type in an area code (or city name) and then designate a radius around that city. The compute program searches the basic census files (Tape 1) and calculates a variety of information for that area. This information includes total population, age/sex of the population, race, household information (including occupancy, tenure, type, and relationship), and total land area within the query. Please contact Steve (515-576-7183-211) to request print-outs of information for your city/selected trade as expressed in a miles radius.

Economic Development Trends for Rural America:. The following trends in economic development for Rural America were outlined during a recent NARC Conference and are reproduced here because they may be of interest to you:
  • Globalization has occurred and rural regions must be conscious of that fact in determining their economic vision;
  • There is a shift to a new rural economy that will target knowledge-based industries;
  • Immigration will become the primary provider of workers for new jobs in Rural America;
  • For the long-term the advantage of Rural America must be quality - Rural America can not compete with world markets when only quantity is considered;
  • A shift from manufacturing to a service economy will be seen. How rural areas adjusts to that shift will determine their long-term future;
  • The loss of young adults from Rural America may be the normal order and one that we can not change. What we can change is the potential to recruit them back later in their lives;
  • To be successful Rural Areas must have quality highways (4-lane minimum access), air service, and rail service;

MIDAS Technical Assistance

Calhoun County:
County - Discussed with County Auditor potential County role in solving interim Pomeroy leadership crisis.
Lake City - Discussed with City Administrator the development of a tax abatement program for commercial purposes.
Manson - Administrative assistance to administer a CDBG Housing Rehabilitation Program. 
Pomeroy - Discussion with City Council member procedures to issue a final payment to a city worker. Assistance to City Clerk regarding what to do when a whole council resigns. Discussion with City Clerk on Personnel Policies and Job Descriptions.
Rockwell City - Provided administrative assistance to administer a CDBG infrastructure program. 
Somers - Attended Council meeting to review proposed narratives for housing and commercial tax abatement plans.

Hamilton County:
County - Reviewed TIF options with a Supervisor.
Blairsburg - Prepared narrative for a TIF plan for housing purposes. Prepared narrative for a commercial tax abatement program. 
Kamrar - Provided administrative assistance to administer a CDBG infrastructure program.
Webster City - Provided Planner with opinions on how a Dance Studio would fit within their zoning ordinance. Suggested to City Planner that the MIDAS Housing RLF could be applicable to a housing needs project.

Humboldt County:
County - Met with RIVER Committee to discuss strategy for a “Great Places” application.
Gilmore City - Provided administrative assistance to administer a CDBG infrastructure program.
Humboldt - Met with City Administrator to review strategy for an organized trip to DC to lobby for various projects. Assisted with REAP application.

Pocahontas County:
County - Met with strategy committee desiring to secure improvements to Lizard Lake.
Laurens - Provided administrative assistance to administer a CDBG infrastructure program. Provided administrative assistance to administer an EDSA grant program. Answered question of Intern regarding the request for qualification process. Assisted with preparing narrative for a REAP application.
Palmer - Assistance to administer a CDBG program.
Pocahontas - Administrative assistance to administer a CDBG sanitary sewer infrastructure program. Administrative assistance to administer a CDBG storm sewer infrastructure program.
Rolfe - Provided input toward two economic development projects. Assisted with preparing narrative for a REAP application.

Webster County:
County - Administrative assistance to administer a CDBG program for rural water. Provided secretarial services for monthly City/County Coordination meeting.
Dayton - Administrative assistance to administer a CDBG water infrastructure program. Administrative assistance to administer a CDBG storm sewer infrastructure program.
Fort Dodge - Participated in organizing a Leadership Program.
Gowrie - Administrative assistance to administer a CDBG infrastructure program. 
Moorland - Administrative assistance to administer a CDBG infrastructure program. 

Wright County:
County - Answered two questions posed by Zoning Administrator. Prepared REAP grant for Lake Cornelia.
Belmond - Assistance to administer a CDBG for Housing Rehabilitation.
Clarion - Assistance to administer a CDBG for Housing Rehabilitation. Reviewed with Economic Development Director the potential for a RISE grant to provide a street to a new subdivision.
Eagle Grove - Assistance to administer a CDBG for Housing Rehabilitation. Prepared narrative for a CDBG-PFSA application on behalf of a new business.
Goldfield - Updating Code of Ordinances.

Regional Benefit:
  • Provided maps for Highway 20 Association and attended Fort Dodge fundraiser.
  • Attended quarterly meeting of Iowa Rural Development Council.
  • Participated in meeting of National Rural Development Partnership.
  • Assisted NARC to prepare a Landcare Application that could include MIDAS governments.
  • Assisted MIGP by providing funds management services.
  • Agreed to be the grantee for a MIGP marketing grant.
  • Attended meeting of Prairie Rivers RC&D.
  • Setup and Attended MISA meeting.
  • Attended RPA Quarterly Meeting.
  • Attended Grant Symposium on Foundations.
  • Attended Cost-Benefit class for Mitigation projects.

MIDAS Executive Committee Meeting of Wednesday, September 21st, 2005


Full Membership Meeting of the MIDAS Executive Committee

Meeting Place and Time: Sandstone Inn (300 Central Avenue, Fort Dodge, Iowa) at 6:30 P.M.


1.        Approve Agenda

2.        Minutes of Meeting of August 17th, 2005

3.        Subcommittee reports

4.        Roundtable of issues from members

5.        Next meeting on October 19th, 2005

6.        Adjournment


Subcommittees to the MIDAS Executive Committee

Budget and Administration Subcommittee

Membership: Stan Watne, Floyd Magnusson, Wes Sweedler, Harlan Hansen, Wilbur Ekstrand, Gerald Thomas, and Dennis Bowman

Meeting Place and Time: MIDAS Conference Room (602 1st Avenue South) at 5:30 P.M.


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Transit Subcommittee

Membership: Darrell Rusher, Jack DeWolf, Larry Hood, Buck Boekelman, Sharon Perry, Ike Nelson, and Ryan Heiar

Meeting Place and Time: DART Conference Room (530 1st Avenue South) at 5:30 P.M.


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Planning Subcommittee

Membership: Vicky Boyington, Lee Ann Waltzing, Vince Triggs, Merle Chamberlain, James Crean, Catherine Bergman, Bob Hudson, David Boswell, Jane Burleson, and Wayne Jackson

Meeting Place and Time: Sandstone Inn (300 Central Avenue, Fort Dodge, Iowa) at 6:00 P.M.


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For those desiring to attend these meetings, but require special accommodations please contact 515-576-7183 Extension 209.

Executive Committee Minutes of August 17th, 2005

1.        Chairperson Hansen called the meeting to order at 6:40 P.M. A quorum was present.

Executive Committee Present Staff/Visitors:

Wes Sweedler - Hamilton County Steve Hoesel

Catherine Bergman - Hamilton County ED Shirley Helgevold

Jack DeWolf - Pocahontas County Cliff Weldon

Vince Triggs - Pocahontas County ED

Wilbur Ekstrand - Pocahontas County Cities

Harlan Hansen - Humboldt County

David Boswell - Humboldt County ED

Floyd Magnusson - Webster County

V.H. "Buck" Boekelman - Webster County Cities

Larry Hood - Calhoun County

Gerald Thomas - Calhoun County ED

Merle Chamberlain - Calhoun County Cities

Stan Watne - Wright County

Dennis Bowman - Wright County Alt.

Absent or Excused Members/Alternates

James Crean - Webster County ED

Jane Burleson-Regional Representative

Darrell Rusher -Humboldt County Cities

Vicky Boyington - Wright County ED

LeeAnn Waltzing - Wright County Cities

Ryan Heiar - Wright County Alt.

Bob Hudson - Hamilton County Cities

Wayne Jackson - Hamilton County Alternate

2.        Motion by Bergman, second by Sweedler to approve the agenda. Ayes All - Motion Carried.

3.        Motion by DeWolf, second by Boekelman to approve the minutes of the July 20th, 2005 Executive Committee Meeting. Ayes All - Motion Carried.

4.        Administration and Budget Committee Report:

¨     Motion by DeWolf, second by Ekstrand to accept and place on file the July financial report including Sections 01/02/03/04 checks 22711 to 22796, Section 05 checks 1108 to 1110, Section 06 check 1101, and Section 07 checks 1168 to 1170. It was noted that the report of checks issued has missing items, which are the paper payroll checks issued during the month. Also, a cancelled check was not listed. Hoesel will contact Schnurr and Company to see if these can be added on future reports. Ayes All - Motion Carried.

¨     Hoesel reported that the Agency's Auditor (Tim Anderson Company) will begin the FY05 audit on August 22nd, with an anticipated report to the Executive Committee on October 21st.

¨     Motion by Boswell, second by Triggs to authorize the signing of two loan documents with First American Bank: 1) an amendment to our 10-year building loan correcting an error in the official name of MIDAS; and 2) authorizing a $50,000 line of credit cash-flow loan. Ayes All - Motion Carried.

¨     Motion by Watne, second by Bergman to authorize a $6,000 10 year loan at an annual interest rate of 5% to Wayne and Brenda Stahl of Belmond to start a flower/small gift shop in Belmond. The loan will be secured by personal guarantees and security agreements listing two new flower coolers. . Ayes All - Motion Carried.

5.        Planning Committee Report:

¨     Motion by Watne, second by Bergman to authorize an administrative services agreement with the Region V Drug Task Force in an amount of $6,500. Ayes All - Motion Carried.

¨     Motion by Watne, second by Boswell to authorize MIDAS to become the grantee with IDED for a $175,000 three-year marketing grant on behalf of the Mid Iowa Growth Partnership. Ayes All - Motion Carried.

¨     Helgevold announced the availability of the new STIP.

6.        Transit Committee report by Weldon:

¨     Motion by Watne, second by Hood to authorize an out of budget trip by Weldon and Porter to a Route Match Users Conference in Atlanta. Ayes All - Motion Carried.

¨     Motion by Boekelman, second by Ekstrand to request that the City of Fort Dodge request to IDOT that the Associated Capital Maintenance Contract be amended to permit the purchase of a drain deck - $276 and a Wire feed Welder - $1,135. Ayes All - Motion Carried.

7.        Steve will begin preparing a matrix of governmental equipment and services that could be shared between local governments. What is envisioned is a chart posted to the MIDAS home page that lists the equipment, contact person, and sharing conditions.To secure the information a questionnaire must be sent to all governments within the MIDAS area.

8.        Federal officials from EDA visited the MIDAS offices and conducted a brief review of the MIDAS EDA Revolving Loan Fund for business development. Several minor violations were cited and are being corrected by the staff.

9.        Motion by Bergman, second by Triggs to adjourn the meeting at 7:45 P.M. Ayes all - Motion Carried.

Respectfully submitted for Secretary Catherine Bergman by staff member Stephen F. Hoesel.

Conference on Volunteer Services

The Iowa Commission on Volunteer Services will host the Iowa Conference on Volunteer Services on November 9th and 10th at the West Des Moines Sheraton. Please contact 800-308-5987 or or for additional information.

Wastewater Management for Small Rural Communities

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources recently issued a report entitled Iowa Strategic Action Plan - Wastewater Management in Small Rural Communities. The Plan recognizes the presence of 150 incorporated comminutes and 550 unincorporated clusters that provide little or no wastewater treatment. Collectively, the list includes over 21,500 homes. The intent of the plan is to develop over the next months a strategy for alleviating the resulting pollution and outlining funding options for communities and counties. Additional information and notices of future meetings may be found on the DNR website at .