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Worth Development Board questioned over use of casino dollars

by Matt Marquardt –

Melanne Bang, WCDA spokeswoman (far right), stands by before Tuesday’s meeting.

NORTHWOOD – Worth County Demands Action, a group of concerned citizens who are scrutinizing how dollars are spent that flow from the Diamond Jo Casino into the Worth county community through the Worth County Development Authority and the Worth County Supervisors, appeared before the Worth County Development Authority Board on Tuesday with statements and questions for the board.

Melanne Bang, of Fertile, was the lead speaker who addressed the board.  Her questions revolved around what her group perceives to be: Conflicts of interest on the board and not adhering to their code of ethics; the hoarding of funds into special accounts for what her group calls “pet projects;” and neglect of the board in spending casino dollars on scholarships and infrastructure projects in towns throughout the county.

The WCDA Board is tasked with allocating Diamond Jo Casino revenues that go back to Worth County.  The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is investigating the board at this time due to complaints from Worth county citizens.

Due to this investigation, the board would not answers many of Bang’s questions, but assured the group that there are no problems with conflicts of interest and no neglect of spending casino money on scholarships and other projects.

A school administrator from Lake Mills, Daryl Sherman, was in attendance at the meeting to show the board a project for his school system, seeking funding.

After the meeting, the word on the sidewalk was that the board ignored a Worth County group’s request for funding to help refurbish a building in Northwood.  It was also mentioned that funding for a drinking water project in Grafton was never acted upon by the board.  It was further said that the board is “hoarding” dollars to build more infrastructure near the Diamond Jo Casino to lure more development and shopping to the area, at the expense of towns like Grafton.

The board claimed that almost every year, they are giving more and more dollars to educational scholarships for Worth County children.


Shayne Hoch, Interim Northwood Police Chief, stands by at Tuesday’s meeting.

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Anonymous…that is exactly what that group looks like it’s fighting for. Did you watch the video? This WCDA is supposed to represent the towns. My town needs a lot. I have a feeling there is a lot of illegals going on here, otherwise why would they not be open about questions. Did you see how that Reeder guy yelled at her? What an ass! If they had nothing to hide why would they not answer questions. I think, just by following this story, they should all be removed.

Each board member has to be vetted by the IRGC in order to server, so it stands to reason that there are some rules on release of information.

One thing people seem to forget is that the WCDA was created to do what is best for the entire County, this sometimes may mean pulling funds from one area to another to fund a large project. What is currently being done is to create a better environment at the I-35 exit for business to locate to, while this may pull funds away from some other areas, it is beneficial to all of Worth County as it will increase its tax income. The WCDA has to look at what is best for the entire county and area, them not acting on a request from a community is not a bad thing, it only indicates that they are weighing what options are best for everyone. A single building in Northwood (which I would guess is the Opera House) does no outweigh the entire county, and the water project in Grafton does not mention if this is a quality of life issue or a safety issue, which makes a great deal of difference.

One thing that always make me look at the bigger picture is a quote from Star Trek “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one” The WCDA has to look at what is best for the county and surrounding areas. As long as they are still providing the scholarships to help our children obtain an education, don’t be bitter because they don’t agree with every resident’s personal agenda.

Looks like a lot of “pass the buck”! They can’t answer a simple question of how long somebody was on the board with out getting permission from the IRGC? What a bunch of idiots! Glad I don’t live there.

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