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  • Roger Sims

Commission agrees to hire person for development grant

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

MOUND CITY – The Linn County Commissioners agreed to have Economic Development Director Jessica Hightower advertise for a person to fill the Rural Champions Grant position if it is received. Applicants will be told that the position is contingent upon the county receiving the grant.

Hightower pointed out that extra points are given during the decision process if a county already has someone picked for the position. Extra points are also given if the county adds money to the $20,800 salary amount.

The commissioners agreed to match the grant with $5,000 of in-kind such as employment taxes, office space, computer, travel expenses and other items.

Commissioners also revised Economic Development Director Jessica Hightower’s contract. Previously, she had a split contract 30/10 and the commissioners had been wanting to change it to a 40-hour contract. Hightower’s salary of $58,344 will stay the same.

She will continue to be an exempt employee with no sick leave, vacation time or annual leave. But she will be eligible for cost of living increases. This is the same for all department heads and elected officials.

The contract does say that she will be reporting directly to Public Works Director Shaun West. West will be her supervisor in all matters.

The contract says that it is explicitly agreed that Hightower will not be under the direct supervision of the board of commissioners.

County Counselor Gary Thompson pointed out that what the commission was trying to do was in case there comes an occasion where they might be a potential conflict of interest, the county has headed that off.

The issue is that her husband, Jason Hightower, who will appear on the November ballot without opposition, will likely take office as District One commissioner in January.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Approved signing off on the district court budget of $185,300. This is a formality that for the District Court System.

• Approved signing the proclamation making Sept. 17 the start of Constitution Week. Renee Slinkard (in the screen capture above right with Commission Chair Jim Johnson) from Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) presented material to the commissioners that explains what every word in the preamble means. Slinkard encouraged everyone to join in the Ring Across America on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 3 p.m. Slinkard said that churches, county seats, other locations with towers, and even people in their homes are encouraged to ring bells at this time.

• Decided to not advertise in yearbooks for schools in the county.

• Approved the resolution for adoption of the Comprehensive Plan.

• Learned from West that the Botkin Road Bridge is nearly complete with the ground being graded and seed planted. It will be assigned a bridge number and will be inspected.

• Learned from West that the maintenance truck from the south shop needs repairs and West will bring back the prices when they are received.

• Heard from West that the hay has been baled at the airport and other locations.

• Moved to renew the adoption of Title VI law stating that the county will not discriminate. This adoption is necessary every three years so the county can keep the transportation grant.

• Authorized to reduce the retainage fees of River City, the company who built the Justice Center. River City estimates that there is about $40,000 worth of work left. The retainage will be reduced to 2.5 times the outstanding work amount so the county will start paying down to $100,000.

• Learned from Thompson that the county cannot do anything for or against the city of Pleasanton annexing part of U.S. 69 Highway. Thompson said there were certain state guidelines the city had to follow.

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