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Op-ed: Watts discusses county government

Chris Watts of Mason City
Chris Watts of Mason City

by Chris Watts of Mason City –

Good Day to you all.

I’ve contemplated writing this for some time now. Some will say I’m writing this because I’m the sore loser. You are entitled to your thoughts. To others, maybe they’ll better understand me. Either way-here goes.

For those that don’t recall, I ran unsuccessfully against Phil Dougherty for District 3 County Supervisor in Cerro Gordo. I ran as a Republican and Phil as a Democrat.

Now I ask you, what does it matter in County business whether you’re Democrat, Republican, or an Independant voter?

In particular, I think the Auditor and Sheriff do an exceptional job. Does it matter what party they belong to?

Just like City politics, does it matter what party the Mayor or Council people belong to?

Something to think about. All in all, I’m for what’s best for the people.

Anyway, it was one long summer with my wife & I walking every night and weekend. The commitment was there. We met so many great people and shared many stories together.

Either way, we never look at it as a loss. We gained so much in just the visiting with you and the different areas of the county. Thanks for sharing with us.
If you ever ran, you’d know what I’m referring to. A real eye opener!! Good exercise that’s for sure.

I’m still concerned about the direction Cerro Gordo is headed compared to other areas around the state. With our proximity to the interstate and other roadways as well as our location between Des Moines and The Cities, I find it sad that we have lost so much for industry and the good paying jobs that go with. Granted, some will say they went to Mexico–and some did, but you look at other areas around that are thriving and ask yourselves, “why not here?”

I travel the roadways DAILY with my job, and ours need great attention. I proposed pursuing WIND ENERGY and the TIF-tax increment financing, that comes with a properly planned Wind Farm. This is how neighboring counties took the burden off the local taxpayer and are putting in new roads and bridges by utilizing funding and technology from the Wind Farms.

Why not us? It has been 14 years since we put the wind farm in south of Ventura. Nothing since. To the residents that live within the city limits in the county, most don’t care or think about this. However, our country roads are in rougher shape than some. There are bridges that should be replaced. Costly right? Not utilizing the plan other forward-thinking counties around us are using. We need GOOD INFRASTUCTURE in the whole county and cities to help attract good industry, jobs, and living conditions.

Sadly, many we spoke with aren’t aware of what or who the County Supervisors are. Many said they watched on TV on Tuesday’s–confusing with the City Council. This is because the Supervisors have been under the radar for to many years. Generally, there are very few from the public that show up. The media plays their existence down. This itself is very sad. The public relies on the media to report and report fairly.

A few examples would be Vision Iowa and Diamond Jo Casino. The county participated in these two ventures. How much did you read about the Supervisor’s stance on the issues? Pretty much all about what the City Council was or wasn’t doing. Poorly reported on.
I’ve approached the different medias in the area about doing a better job in the future. I’d encourage each and every one of you to ask questions.

Anyway, back to our roads & bridges. The headline in the Globe-Gazette on May 9th was “MidAmerican adding 656 more wind turbines”. This project has Governor Branstad’s blessing because it represents the largest economic development in state history.

According to the article written, in addition to economic development, it’ll provide over $360 million in extra property tax revenues over the next 3 decades. Land owners will benefit $3.2 million PER YEAR as a result. This project alone is estimated to create 460 construction jobs over two years with 48 permanent positions.

Mitchell County has put in over 30 miles of new roads, Worth County has approximately 50 more miles of new roads, and Winnebago County will have spent around 28 million over the past three years on new roads and bridges. Franklin County is massing a large Wind Farm project currently. Granted, you just can’t place these Windmills anywhere one wants, but I believe it’s past time we here in Cerro Gordo entered the “Green Energy” age and start utilizing the benefits wind has to advance our position in improving our infrastructure and bringing good paying jobs to Cerro Gordo County.


Chris Watts

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