Kness gives final update to supervisors

The Jefferson County Supervisors met Tuesday to hear updates from the county treasurer, the county engineer and other business.

Supervisor Dee Sandquist and Fairfield Economic Development Association director Josh Laraby spoke about their attendance to a White House Intergovernmental Affairs conference.

Jefferson County Treasurer Terri Kness addressed the board with her final update before her retirement.

Knees recapped efficiencies and improvements made in her office since her start over seven years ago and talked about the new driver?s license.

?This will be our biggest driver?s license issuance year that the entire state will have. They?re projecting there will be half a million licenses and then it will go down to about 250,000,? said Kness.

She also mentioned the coming importance of REAL ID compliant cards. REAL ID compliant driver?s licenses and identification cards will include a star icon and will be required in 2020 to fly on commercial airline flights domestically, as well as to enter federal buildings and nuclear power plants in the United States.

REAL ID compliant licenses and IDs do not invalidate your existing cards and are not a requirement.

Also, they do not affect the usual uses of your cards such as driving, renting a vehicle, writing a check, purchasing alcohol or tobacco, or entering a casino, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation website.

?Pretty much every customer that walks through the door, we?re telling about REAL ID because it requires additional documents, and they?ll need it if they want to fly commercially or enter a federal building by 2020,? she added.

Kness oversaw a reorganization of county functions into the treasurer?s office combining the motor vehicle and property tax functions and cross-training staff. Kness also recently concluded her term as president of the Iowa State County Treasurer?s Association.

Her tenure as county treasurer will end this month, and she recommended current Motor Vehicle Deputy Mark Myers to become interim treasurer, noting his intention to run for the office in the upcoming fall election. Kness intends to return to a career in real estate with Davis and Palmer Real Estate.

Sandquist and Laraby provided a report on their attendance of the White House Intergovernmental Affairs conference for Iowa in Washington, D.C. The event focused on a variety of topics including growth of small business in Iowa, the opioid crisis, employment and more.

?You know, in economic development, I don?t think about opioid or drug addiction much, but the more conferences I go to and the more economic developers I connect with, I see how it?s connected, especially when it comes to workforce development and poverty,? said Laraby.

Both attendees remarked on the non-partisan quality of the event and that they enjoyed presentations and meetings about improving interaction between the federal and local levels of government.

Attendees met with Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and received an unscheduled visit from Vice President Mike Pence, who expressed gratitude for the efforts of local government. The group also received a surprise call from President Donald Trump during Sen Joni Ernst?s presentation.

In other business, the county will begin considering a state-proposed flood map for insurance rates. 10-15 Transit was approved for additional funding for improvements to an area building in Ottumwa, and the $2 fee for local rides may be eliminated to improve ridership.

The board approved membership for the county in the Eastern Iowa Tourism Association because of benefits to the Maasdam Barns and other local attractions.

The annual appropriation for the Heartland Economic Development property tax rebate was approved and a disposal system contractor?s license was reinstated for Hadley Plumbing and Heating.