BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – An ordinance that would restrict the use of “jake braking” in specified areas of Lee County will be on its first reading at Tuesday’s Lee County Board of Supervisors meeting.
The issue came up at a meeting in October, where residents of the Clearview Heights subdivision complained that the noise from trucks coming down the Hwy 61 bypass off the Hwy 2 exit, and trucks coming down Hwy 2 towards Fort Madison from the west, were disturbing the neighborhood at all hours of the day.
Supervisors directed Lee County Attorney Ross Braden to come up with an ordinance that would prohibit the braking at specified paved intersections in the county. However, the new proposed ordinance would give supervisors the option of prohibiting the use of the engine braking, compression-release braking or exhaust braking, at other areas deemed to be problem areas by the board.
The braking would be defined as “any engine braking, compression braking, compression-release braking, exhaust braking or mechanical exhaust device or mechanism designed to aid in the braking or deceleration of any vehicle that results in excessive loud, unusual or explosive noise from such vehicle, unless such use is necessary to avoid imminent danger within 500 feet of the intersection of paved roadways in Lee County.”
The ordinance would carry a $150 fine and the county would install signs on county roads indicating the designated areas. The Iowa Department of Transportation would install signs as designated by the board on any state controlled highways, such as Hwy 2 and Hwy 61.
Clearview resident Jim Noll told the group that this area of the state is relatively flat and it hasn’t been that big of an issue before the fertilizer plant opened.
However, he said it may be just an issue of truck drivers liking to hear the noise, akin to a Harley-Davidson rider enjoying the sound of the motorcycle.
“A lot of times it’s just some guy that likes to hear a brake. Let’s face it, it’s no different than a Harley motorcycle to a cycler as it is to a trucker. Not all of them, but there’s apparently some because I can tell you, you can almost set your watch by it,” Noll told the board in October.
The ordinance by statute would require three readings before becoming part of the county code, however supervisors could exercise a right to waive the third reading if there was no debate on the ordinance at the second reading.
In other action, the board will consider:
– a $205,000 budget amendment with an additional $30,000 in appropriations to the public safety and legal services account and $175,040 to the administration account. The budget amendment reduces the county’s general fund balance from $8.721 million to $8.516 million.
– a contract with Maximus Consulting Services out of Richmond, Va, to develop a cost allocation plan for three years beginning 2018-2020, which could be used to collect state and federal revenues recovered for costs to various funds.
– an update on the sewer mitigation process at Mooar-Powdertown from Lee County Health Department Environmental Services program director Rosa Haukedahl. The county has been working to get in compliance with state regs on residents’ septic systems as state and federal government agencies closely monitor progress.