Senator’s Staff Hold Open Office Hours in Sigourney

Casey Jarmes
The News-Review

SIGOURNEY – Michelle Beck, an employee of Senator Joni Ernst, held open office hours at Sigourney City Hall on May 14, to hear the problems and concerns of locals. Sigourney Mayor Jimmy Morlan explained that the Upper Story Apartment and Façade Projects, which he had spoken with Beck about in the past, were both essentially completed. Morlan noted that the Façade project was originally intended to be completed at the end of 2022, but had been dragged out due to “frustrating glitches.” He stated the city was looking into new grant projects. Morlan stated that there were plans for another Upper Story Apartment project, which would add four new apartments above Garden Gate on the Sigourney square, if the city received a grant for it

Morlan brought up the work KCED is doing to set up a daycare in Sigourney, stating that licensing and regulations make it hard for daycares to stay open. Morlan stated there was a problem with getting daycare workers and paying them what they deserve. He said cities could always use more money to fund childcare. He brought up the resignation of Sigourney Chief of Police Kris Metcalf, saying the city would need to find a replacement.

Morlan talked about the Sigourney Senior Center, whom he delivers meals for. He stated that the Senior Center relies on money from the county, state, and federal governments and that funding had been cut recently, resulting in less people being eligible for meals. He stated hot meal deliveries had gone from 18-20 meals per week to 7-8 and that frozen meal deliveries had gone from 20-21 per week to 9. Morlan noted that the people he delivers food to definitely need assistance and that senior centers in surrounding counties had closed recently.

Morlan noted that cities need steady growth, but that too much growth can lead to higher taxes. He stated that Iowa towns were limited to a quota of two new houses and one business per year. Morlan brought up Sigourney’s success with hiring a code enforcer and stated that other nearby cities like Hedrick were interested in hiring someone similar. He stated several towns were looking into adjusting their ordinances to match and hiring a shared code enforcer.

Scott Long, CEO of T.I.P. Rural Electric Cooperative, a Brooklyn, Iowa based utility company with an outpost in Sigourney, talked about problems he had with the EPA. He claimed that the EPA was attempting to move Iowa away from coal. Long stated that while he wasn’t against moving away from coal, there is not enough other energy in Iowa to replace it. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2023, Iowa’s chief source of energy was wind, accounting for 59.5% of electricity generation, followed by coal at 23.4% and natural gas at 14.9%. Long stated that T.I.P and co-ops in 22 other states were suing the EPA over “political agenda” instead of “common sense knowledge” and claimed that the EPA’s “agenda” wouldn't make America better.




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