Members of the 2018 Carroll Area Development Corporation’s Access Washington delegation last week met with elected officials, congressional staff members and agency representatives on a host of issues of importance to the Carroll region, from trade to agriculture to rural natural-gas service to wastewater treatment to the potential for federal funding for improvements to the Carroll Recreation Center. Pictured with the CADC delegation in front of the U.S. Capitol are (from left) Carroll Mayor Eric Jensen, Manning City Administrator Dawn Meyer, CADC Executive Director Shannon Landauer, Carroll County Supervisor Dean Schettler, Carroll City Manager Mike Pogge-Weaver, Region 12 Council of Governments Executive Director Rick Hunsaker and Daily Times Herald co-owner Douglas Burns.
Members of the 2018 Carroll Area Development Corporation’s Access Washington delegation last week met with elected officials, congressional staff members and agency representatives on a host of issues of importance to the Carroll region, from trade to agriculture to rural natural-gas service to wastewater treatment to the potential for federal funding for improvements to the Carroll Recreation Center. Pictured with the CADC delegation in front of the U.S. Capitol are (from left) Carroll Mayor Eric Jensen, Manning City Administrator Dawn Meyer, CADC Executive Director Shannon Landauer, Carroll County Supervisor Dean Schettler, Carroll City Manager Mike Pogge-Weaver, Region 12 Council of Governments Executive Director Rick Hunsaker and Daily Times Herald co-owner Douglas Burns.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

June 26, 2018

Carroll County economic-development leaders last week urged Iowa’s members of Congress to fight for expanded agricultural sales in foreign markets as trade is foundational to the west-central-Iowa regional economy.

The value of agricultural exports for Carroll County reached $146 million in 2017, with 1,800 jobs tied to the shipment of corn, soybeans, pork and other products outside of the United States, the Carroll Area Development Corporation delegation told elected officials in two days of meetings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

As the Trump administration moves forward with foreign-trade policy, we ask you to continue to support trade arrangements that benefit rural Iowa agriculture,” CADC board member Douglas Burns said.

Burns said U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, is right when she says that “tariffs are nothing more than taxes on Iowa farm families.”

“You are doing great work on trade, senator,” Burns told Ernst in the Capitol. “Rural Iowa knows you have our back. Keep doing what you are doing — and keep the ear of the president, which I know you have.”

Key markets for Carroll products include Canada, Mexico, Japan, China and Germany.

“Asia is really vital,” Burns said.

The CADC Access Washington, D.C., delegation covered a raft of other issues — from workforce concerns to wastewater issues in Carroll to the potential for expansion of natural-gas service in Manning to rural broadband to the possibility of federal funding for a major upgrade to the Carroll Recreation Center.

“Our time in Washington, D.C., was again well spent and productive for our delegation,” said CADC Executive Director Shannon Landauer, the lead organizer for the sessions. “The topics this year were really centered around community vitality and the support Carroll County needs at the federal level for our businesses and communities to continue to grow.”

The Carroll County delegation included: Burns, Landauer, Carroll Mayor Eric Jensen, Carroll County Supervisor Dean Schettler, Manning City Administrator Dawn Meyer, Carroll City Manager Mike Pogge-Weaver and Region 12 Council of Governments Executive Director Rick Hunsaker.

The Carroll group met with U.S. Department of Labor staffers, Ernst, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and GOP U.S. Reps. Steve King and David Young. The delegation discussed issues with King in his office and later had a nearly three-hour dinner with the Kiron Republican in Arlington, Virginia.

“The amount of time our elected officials spend with us, particularly Congressman King, is impressive, especially given the exceptionally hectic and substance-filled days on Capitol Hill last week,” said Burns, co-owner of the Daily Times Herald and the former press secretary and speechwriter for U.S. Rep. Pat Danner of Missouri. “They were dealing with the farm bill and immigration so Carroll County voices were heard at an opportune time.”

The CADC did not take a position on immigration.

As for local issues, the CADC is backing the City of Carroll in its efforts to obtain a $1 million to $1.5 million grant for a potential $9.7 million expansion of the Carroll Recreation Center.

“Carroll is a regional center in west-central Iowa,” Pogge-Weaver said. “We serve as a regional hub and provide regional services.”

Now over 40 years old, the Rec Center, built for $2 million in 1975. was initially funded with a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The modern upgrade would include a renovated pool, a new multipurpose room and updated locker rooms.

The city is planning a referendum in the fall of 2019 with construction slated to start in 2021 if public support exists.

Pogge-Weaver and Jensen asked for assistance or regulatory relief to deal with the potential $5 million cost associated with reducing copper discharge from the wastewater treatment plant to comply with 2021 regulations.

“It’s a big issue for the community,” Pogge-Weaver said.

Schettler, a supervisor from Breda and a longtime advocate for Western Iowa Networks, asked elected officials to maintain funding for rural high-speed internet service — which is essential for a host of business and economic-development initiatives in the Carroll area.

The CADC also sought a Medicaid carve-out for individuals with disabilities, a move that would assist New Hope, which has 225 clients with disabilities — and 400 employees with an annual payroll of $10 million.

On transportation, the CADC — along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — supports a 25-cents-per-gallon increase to the federal gas tax as increased transportation funding would speed development of a fully four-laned Highway 30 across 331 miles in Iowa.

“We are looking forward to the four-laning of Highway 30,” Hunsaker said.

For Manning, Meyer said Manning Municipal Utilities is looking into expanding natural-gas service to meet more demand. The city is eyeing regulatory relief and federal funding to boost services and possibly expand into the Arcadia market.

We are facing a very time-sensitive need,” Meyer said.