Chris Fee

Chris Fee

Unincorporated Canton in western Jackson County will get two signs trumpeting the community’s existence, after Jackson County Supervisor Larry McDevitt brought the matter up at the county supervisors’ May 14 meeting.

The signs, which would be located on the two ends of town, would simply read “Canton.”

Off Highway 61 north of Maquoketa, directional signs point toward Fulton and Hurstville. 

“Green Island has a sign, but it was incorporated at one time,” Supervisor Jack Willey said.

“Canton was bigger than Maquoketa at one time,” McDevitt responded.

“They’re proud of their little town,” Supervisor Mike Steines added.

County engineer Clark Schloz was unsure of the exact cost of two signs and installation but said they would cost less than $500.

Schloz said Wednesday that he believed it would be the first unincorporated city to get county signage at the edges of town. It could set a precedent for other communities that want “city-limits”-style signage.

Unincorporated communities include Iron Hill, Bridgeport, Nashville, Garryowen, Crabtown, Hurstville, Emeline and Cottonville.

Five-day workweek

The supervisors rejected a request from some employees in the engineer’s office and secondary roads crews to work four 10-hour days during the summer months. Crews currently work five eight-hour days. 

“I think the public expects us to be here five days a week,” Schloz said.

The motion to reject the four-day week passed unanimously, with McDevitt noting that workers did have 40 hours of compensation time to use from extra road work during the winter.

Future engineers

The supervisors are floating the idea of hiring another engineer in the county.

At $200 per inspection for Jackson County’s 225 bridges, it’s cheaper to contract out inspections than it would be to hire an engineer at a minimum cost of $65,000, Schloz said.

“Our intent is to have that person do more than bridges,” Willey said.

Steines suggested a work session to discuss hiring an assistant for Schloz. Steines said that Becki Chapin in the county human resources department had spoken with nearby counties that share engineering staff.

“There’ll be a transition there, and we need to be prepared for it and know what’s out there,” McDevitt said.

On Wednesday, Schloz said he had discussed with the supervisors the possibility of retiring within an approximately “two- to three-year” timeframe.

EV seeks grant for security

Easton Valley Community School District is applying for a federal grant — estimated at about $150,000 — that could help to pay for security measures that would improve coordination with the county.

Easton Valley Superintendent Chris Fee said the violence prevention grant could pay for 75 percent of a badge or fob entry system to “better track who’s coming in” to the school. It would also prevent access to the school via the “countless number of keys that are floating around our community,” he said.

If Easton Valley is successful, the grant would connect school video monitoring to the law center, provide training, and possibly help pay for a bulletproof film on school windows.

If awarded, a 25 percent match for the grant would come from the school’s facility fund, Fee told the Sentinel-Press.

Wanted: septic plotter

Jackson County is seeking a summer intern to map septic and well systems in places where they’ve been squished together, like Leisure Lake northwest of Maquoketa and the Droessler subdivision north of Bellevue.

The most likely internship candidate would be a student or recent graduate in Geographic Information Systems, though county GIS coordinator Heather Brusnahan said a good candidate would also need to “interact with the public in a way that adequately reflects the standards of Jackson County employees,” especially as the intern would be wandering on private property.

Leisure Lake now has a sewer system, but a public water supply to Droessler hasn’t yet been funded. The summer intern would focus on these areas of greatest need, although the eventual goal is to map all the wells and septic systems in Jackson County, Brusnahan said.

Census update 20 years late

It took two decades, but U.S. Census mapping has finally accepted a change submitted by the Jackson County auditor’s office 20 years ago.

Brusnahan reported that the land parcel change submitted 20 years ago was accepted, along with all Jackson County’s more recent boundary and annexation changes. 

“They must have changed something in their workflow,” she said. “I feel better about continuing to work on these programs, knowing the data’s been received.”

Penrose planning

Plans are coming together to move some county offices into the Penrose building, possibly under the umbrella of “community services.”

Besides the Department of Human Services in Jackson County, veterans affairs and mental health may be moved to the Penrose building, possibly as early as July 1, county officials said.