By Steve Woodhouse
Knoxville — Marion County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sam Nichols' last meeting with the board was held Monday morning. He was recognized for his eight years of service on the board.
The end of Nichols' term as a supervisor marks the end of 38 years of working in public service. Nichols first ran for the Board in 2004, after retiring from the Knoxville Police Department.
Nichols took office in January 2005. It was that same year he began to serve as Marion County's representative to the Fifth Judicial District. Sally Kraemer and Mike King, on behalf of the district, were at Monday's meeting to recognize Nichols for his contributions.
"He's just played a huge role for us and helped us through some really bad budget times," Kraemer said.
"Our board really appreciates the service Sam has given us," King said. "He's been a good friend and I think this county will lose a lot."
Marion County Auditor Jake Grandia shared some sentiment, and a certificate, on behalf of the county government. The employees and elected officials wanted to share their appreciation for Nichols' efforts.
"I personally cherish you as a friend, and I wish you the best," Grandia said.
Nichols said Marion County has an "unbelievable" group of elected officials, department heads and other employees. He is glad to have worked with them and will miss the interaction he had with them the most.
"They do a great job," Nichols said.
"It's been a real enjoyment," is how Nichols described his years on the board, following the meeting. The office has presented him with interesting challenges at times over the years. His objective has always been to move Marion County forward, while looking out for what's best for the county, and not individual communities.
As the State of Iowa toys with the notion of regionalizing services, Nichols has worked to put Marion County at the forefront of discussions, to be a leader if this becomes a reality.
There are aspects of the office that he will not miss. He specifically mentioned annual budgeting. Challenging as that was for him, he said Marion County is blessed to have the communities and industries it has. These assets made the process easier.
Nichols intends to continue to be a Marion County resident. He plans to continue to try to serve the public when he can. Nichols has worked with Pella Cooperative Electric for 20 years, which he will continue to do. He intends to continue to serve on the Central Iowa Power Cooperatives board and national electric cooperatives board as well.
Other supervisors' notes:
• Approved work beyond right of way agreements between the Secondary Road Department and Beatrice Lenger, Donald Visser, Rob Wallace, James Lenger and Dennis De Vries.
• Following an objection by Max Smith of Smith Fertilizer and Grain, the second reading of a proposed ordinance banning engine brake use in the County died for the lack of a motion. These brakes are said to be loud, but Smith told the board that manufacturers are making them more quiet and that most semis utilize the brakes to protect the longevity of their other brakes. He felt the proposed ordinance was unnecessary.
• Approved a resolution to establish the maximum speed limit of 35 miles per hour on a portion of County Road T-14 southbound, south of the northern most Pella City limits and a speed zone of 40 miles per hour continue to be in place from the northern most City limits of Pella north 2,250 feet. Steve McCombs, with the Engineer's Office, said this was necessary due to some annexation by Pella, to bring the limits in line with the rest of the area.
• Approved a resolution to cancel unredeemed Marion County warrants through June 30, 2011, and placing the funds back into appropriate fund balances. Marion County Treasurer Denise Emal said these total a little over $1,900 and most of the money will return to the General Fund.
• Authorized the Marion County Engineer to apply for a grant from the Iowa DOT Horizontal Curve Sign Program. McCombs indicated that the county is seeking $8,000 to buy chevron signs.
• County officials will be sworn in at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 2, at 9 a.m. in the large, third-floor courtroom. Officials to be sworn in include Auditor Jake Grandia, Supervisor Jim Kingery, Supervisor-elect Mark Raymie and Sheriff-elect Jason Sandholdt.