BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – Lee County is now part of a statistical reporting authority that will shine a brighter light on the traffic of commerce in and out of the county.
At Tuesday’s regular Lee County Board of Supervisor meeting, the board voted unanimously to become part of the Mid-American Port Authority Port Statistical Area.
Supervisor Gary Folluo, who’s also an ex-officio member of the Southeast Iowa Regional Economic and Port Authority, said joining the PSA doesn’t carry with it any additional authorities or powers.
“It’s doesn’t lock is us in. If we want to change our PSA to Iowa’s group we can do that if we feel it’s beneficial to us,” Folluo said.
“This is just a way of reporting the tonnage, because the things that are shipped out now because of trade secrets and other issues, are not being reported to the (U.S. Army) Corps of Engineers.”
The county is already a part of the Mid-American Port Authority, but this move allows county commerce to be included in the statistical data of the region.
Folluo said SIREPA and Mid-American work together to help market and identify opportunities for the region.
Mike Dunn is also a member of the SIREPA representing Keokuk and he said a lot of commerce comes and go in Lee County, and this designation will allow that information to get out to potential industrial partners.
“As we look at what comes and goes from Lee County, we have a lot of commerce coming and going to Missouri as well as Illinois,” he said. “Since this can be changed later on, it will be important for us to continue the alliance with have with Mid-American.”
Mike Norris, executive director of Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission, said the PSA is simply a way to report statistics.
“There was a lot of jockeying last year as to who would be in what PSA, so this resolution would just be to join the Mid-American Port Commission PSA, which would include all of the Mid-American Port Commission counties,” Norris said.
“A PSA to jointly report tonnage did not previously exist.”
Supervisors also approved the appointment of Denise Boyer, of Hall Towing, Inc. in Fort Madison to sit on the commission. She would join Dan Wiedemeier and Joe Steil as Iowa’s appointees to the commission. Wiedemeier is a governor’s appointment. Steil and Boyer would be appointees from Iowa’s counties in the commission.
Boyer would still need to be approved by the other five counties from Iowa including Des Moines, Henry, Van Buren, Jefferson and Wapello. Iowa, Illinois and Missouri all get three appointees to the commission.
In other action, the board approved changing county Member Benefits Coordinator Michelle Reed, positions from an hourly position to a salaried position with a new job title as Human Resources Generalist by a 4-1 vote.
Folluo voted against the move citing that it should be posted as a vacancy if the position is being changed from hourly to salary.