The Greene County Board of Supervisors met Monday in regular session.

During open forum, Cooper resident Chris Henning asked the Board to add meeting agendas and meeting minutes to the county’s website for better public access and awareness of what the different county entities are doing. The Board took no action after Henning spoke.

Then County Engineer Wade Weiss addressed the Board. He is re-assessing areas of the county where snowfall may have caused issues with the right of ways. He also talked about a previous designation for Iowa Highways 4 and 30 through Greene County. Weiss was assisting Greene County Veterans Affairs Director Michael Bierl on an update to installing signs in memory of fallen soldiers. One was the bridge on Highway 30 west of Jefferson in honor of Army Captain Matthew Neilson and Iowa Highway 4 from US Highway 30 to Iowa Highway 141 for Lance Corporal Benjamin Carman. Weiss was approached by Matthew’s father about the signs. 

Weiss believes there is a hold up with the Iowa Department of Transportation who was thought to be the one responsible for purchasing and installing the signs. However, Weiss noted that due to turnover at the DOT it is no longer clear if that is true. He offered fundraising ideas to purchase the total of five signs and have them installed for $2,850. The Board wanted to review what the resolution had said when they agreed to approve a letter of support for that effort last year.

The Board then approved the amendments to the general services agreement with Boone and Greene County Probation Services, with the main change being a 19 percent increase in quarterly payments to $10,583. They also approved a Class C Native Wine License for Deal’s Orchard through December 4, 2024. 

Next, the Board held a discussion about changing the solar energy ordinance. One of the main proposed changes was the total size of a project was to include the geographic area of the system inside a fence or a wall can’t exceed 1,000 acres. Another change was if an energy company wanted to expand and build another solar panel farm, the two areas together could not exceed 1,000 acres. The other change was that an energy company needed to have consultation with the county engineer, the drainage clerk and the county emergency management coordinator before their permit could be heard by the County Board of Adjustment. The Board agreed to move forward to consider those changes at a future meeting. 

Board Chair John Muir then talked about the zoom policy. He said while having zoom available to the people that can’t attend their meetings in person was a positive impact, he had concerns with the interaction portion. He felt that when individuals don’t mute themselves that can be disruptive in their meetings, along with Supervisor Pete Bardole is monitoring zoom, which also takes his focus away from the meeting. The rest of the Board agreed that zoom should be just for listening. County Attorney Thomas Laehn recommended having a formal policy for all public interaction at their meetings, which the Board agreed to move forward on a draft.

The Board also reviewed their conditions with the non-profit organizations and the 28E agreements. Supervisor Dan Benitz asked if they could require Greene County Development Corporation to hold their meetings publicly. Laehn said basically that they could because the county is giving GCDC funding. Laehn pointed out that the 28E agreement with any of the non-profits could be terminated after either party gives 30 days notice. GCDC member Rick Morain said the reason GCDC doesn’t hold its meetings in public is because if a business was considering locating in the county, they didn’t want that business to feel uncomfortable knowing that people from their current home location heard about them leaving.