Conservation Facilities Update 5-20-2020 | Updates to Absentee Voting 5-18-2020 | Webster County Campgrounds Opening May 15th | Vote Safe Iowa Press Release 4-22-2020 | Assessed Value Appeal Dates Extended 4-6-2020 | Conservation COVID19 Press Release 4-1-2020 | Assessment Notices to be Mailed | Public Hearing (Proposal to Adopt 2020 Ordinances)
May 20, 2020
The Webster County Conservation Board and Staff continue to monitor the current disaster declaration because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The safety and health of our park visitors is our top priority. The Conservation Department has modified the following services in response to the current public health emergency.
In an effort to comply with national, state and local recommendations for “social distancing”, the board has approved a phased-opening process for Webster County campgrounds and facilities.
Campgrounds at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park and Gypsum City OHV Park are currently open for self-contained campers with their own restrooms and showers.
Effective May 28th, the Department’s Facilities will be moved to the next level in the phased-opening plan, including:
- All camping units allowed.
- Campground restrooms and showers open with elevated sanitation schedule.
- Restrictions to total number of people at a campsite will follow State guidelines for gatherings and social distancing and will be enforced by the Park Ranger.
- WCCB Office opens with limitations. Only one person is allowed in the office at any given time. No groups allowed.
Effective June 5th:
- Overnight facility rentals open with elevated sanitation schedule.
- Watercraft rentals resume with limitations. Only one person is allowed for pick-up and drop-off.
- Firewood sales resume.
Restrictions that remain in-place per the Governor’s proclamation:
- Day-use facility rentals (shelters & lodge) are closed based on State guidelines for gatherings and social distancing and will be enforced by the Park Ranger.
- Playgrounds remain closed.
Shelter and lodge reservations scheduled in March – June will have the option to re-schedule their event or receive a refund. July rentals are scheduled to occur as planned; however if new restrictions are imposed reservations may need to be modified.
All Department events and programs scheduled through June have been postponed or cancelled. Additional information about summer camps and programs will be posted on the county website and the Department’s Facebook page.
County parks, lakes, trails and wildlife management areas remain open for general use. The Webster County Conservation Board’s mission has always been, and continues to be, encouraging people’s wise use of the outdoors. The recent events have caused an increase in park visits and trail use. We strongly encourage people to get outside for the benefit of their physical, mental and emotional health; however we ask our visitors to follow the CDC recommendations for “social distancing” this includes avoiding group activities and areas that concentrate people, maintain a six-foot distance from others, frequently washing your hands, and if you feel sick stay home. Playgrounds and play equipment should be avoided during this current public health emergency.
We will continue to follow the recommendations of the CDC, government leaders and our local public health officials as we respond to this constantly changing situation. If you have questions or need to modify an upcoming reservation please contact us at [email protected]
Voter Pre-Registration Deadline
The deadline to pre-register to vote for the primary election is 5 p.m. Friday May 22, 2020. This applies to registration in person (including registration at driver’s license stations or agencies) or by mail. Voters may pre*register online at sos.state.ia.us until 11:59 p.m May 22, 2020.
After this date a person may register to vote at the absentee voting precinct located at the DHS Building, 330 1st Ave. N, Fort Dodge and vote an absentee ballot or register and vote on election day. The process is the same as for registering to vote on election day.
Last Day to request Absentee Ballots by Mail
The deadline to request an absentee ballot to be mailed is 5 p.m. Friday May 22, 2020. After this date you will be able to vote an Absentee Ballot In-Person at the DHS Building, 330 1st Ave. N, Fort Dodge or vote at your combined polling location.
If you have received an Absentee Ballot by mail and wish to return them in-person, they can be returned to the Webster County Courthouse Main Lobby - Drop Box at 701 Central Ave., Fort Dodge. Absentee ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by midnight, June 1st, 2020.
If you have any questions feel free to contact the Auditor’s Office at (515)573-7175.
The RV sites at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park and Gypsum City OHV Park will open at 8:00 AM on Friday, May 15.
Only campers with self-contained restroom units will be permitted at this time. All modern restrooms, shower houses, shelter, lodges, overnight accommodations and playgrounds will remain closed. The reservation system for sites at Gypsum City is accepting reservations beginning May 15.
County park visitors and campers are expected to maintain proper social distancing (at least 6 feet of separation) and proper hygiene. In keeping with group size restrictions, campsites are to be occupied by the tenants of that site only at all times and no more than six people are to occupy a site at a time.
On Wednesday, May 6, Governor Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation allowing campgrounds across the state to open beginning Friday, May 8 "…provided that the campground implements reasonable measures…to ensure social distancing, increased hygiene practices, and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 consistent with guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Public Health."
Among other precautions, there will be no firewood sales, canoe/kayak rentals, cabin reservations, or concessions offered at any of the parks. All conservation department buildings, including the Main Office remain closed. Parks, wildlife areas, and trails are open and will remain open as long as visitors are able to maintain proper social distancing.
For more information regarding Webster County Conservation campgrounds, parks, and facilities, call (515)576-4258 or email [email protected] Information is also available online at www.webstercountyia.org or on Webster County Conservation’s Facebook page.
June 2, 2020 Primary Election:
Webster County Auditor Doreen Pliner would like to encourage everyone to vote Absentee and stay home to help slow the spread of COVID-19. In the next week the Secretary of State will be mailing out Absentee Request Forms to every registered voter in Webster County and the entire state. Absentee Request Forms can also be found on our Website at www.webstercountyia.org.
If you want to receive a ballot by mail, the Absentee Ballot Request Form must be received by the County Auditor’s Office no later than May 22, 5:00 pm. You must select either the Democratic or the Republican Party to receive a ballot. This request will be for the June 2, 2020 Primary. Requests for the November General Election cannot be submitted until July 6. 2020.
The Auditor’s office is encouraging county voters to vote by mail to be safe. Please note that Webster County will have only three polling places available for the Primary on June 2, 2020. In an effort to protect our current precinct election officials, we are using a limited staff; the current plans for polling locations will be located as follows:
Fort Dodge Precincts: 1, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Township Precincts: Badger, Cooper, Newark, and Colfax-Duncombe
Fort Dodge Precincts: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Township Precincts: Deer Creek-Jackson, Johnson and Douglas
Webster County Fairgrounds:
Township Precincts: Fulton, Elkhorn, Clay-Roland, Gowrie, Lost Grove, Dayton-Burnside, Sumner-Webster-Hardin-Yell, Washington, Otho-Pleasant Valley
PRESS RELEASE – April 6, 2020
Media Contacts: Dixie Saunders, 319-293-3001
President, Iowa State Association of Assessors; and Van Buren County Assess
Subject: Assessed value appeal dates extended
Iowa Assessors recently mailed assessment rolls to any property owner who had changes to their 2020 assessed valuations. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, an official state order gives property owners who disagree with property values additional time to petition their local board of review. Iowa State Association of Assessors President Dixie Saunders recently notified assessors that the deadline to file an assessment appeal has been extended until June 5th. The regular appeal deadline is April 30th.
The Board of Review is an independent board made up of appointed private citizens who meet for the purpose of hearing protests to assessed values. After reviewing the information provided by the property owner and the assessor’s office, the board acts to either change the assessed value or leave it intact.
Saunders explained, “Current assessed values are effective January 1, 2020. Conditions affecting assessed values after the first of this year will be reflected on the 2021 assessment rolls. Over the coming months, assessors will be monitoring sale prices of properties in their respective jurisdictions. If COVID-19 or other economic conditions affect overall market values, next year’s assessed value will change accordingly.”
Anyone who disagrees with their assessed value has two options available at this time. The first option involves calling the local assessor’s office to request an “Informal Review”. This year, the deadline is April 27. The second option is to file a formal appeal with the Board of Review by June 5th. Contact information for assessors and the form titled “Disaster Counties Petition to Local Board of Review” can be accessed at www.Iowa-Assessors.org.
Saunders noted, “While many county offices are closed to the public, most are still effectively conducting business via phone, mail and email. I would encourage people to shelter at home and contact your local assessor with any concerns.”
Webster County Delays Campground Openings in Response to COVID-19
April 1, 2020
The Webster County Conservation Board and Staff are closely monitoring the current disaster declaration because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The safety and health of our park visitors is our top priority. The Conservation Department has modified the following services in response to the current public health emergency.
After viewing national, state and local recommendations for “social distancing”, the board has decided to delay the opening of the John F. Kennedy Memorial and Gypsum City Campgrounds from April 15th to at least May 1st. This will include all overnight accommodations in our cabins, tiny houses and yurts. The board will re-evaluate the situation at the end of April to determine the appropriate time to open.
Shelter and lodge reservations scheduled in April will have the option to re-schedule their event or receive a refund. May rentals are scheduled to occur as planned; however if new restrictions are imposed reservations may need to be modified. May renters will have the option to reschedule or apply for a refund.
All Department events and programs scheduled in April have been postponed or cancelled. A revised 2020 calendar of events will be posted in May on the county website and the Department’s Facebook page.
County parks, lakes, trails and wildlife management areas remain open for general use. The Webster County Conservation Board’s mission has always been, and continues to be encouraging people’s wise use of the outdoors. The recent events have caused an increase in park visits and trail use. We strongly encourage people to get outside for the benefit of their physical, mental and emotional health; however we ask our visitors to follow the CDC recommendations for “social distancing” this includes avoiding group activities and areas that concentrate people, maintain a six-foot distance from others, frequently washing your hands and if you feel sick stay home. Playgrounds and play equipment should be avoided during this current public health emergency.
We will continue to follow the recommendations of the CDC, government leaders and our local public health officials as we respond to this constantly changing situation. The Conservation Office will remain closed for walk-in traffic until further notice; however if you have questions or need to modify an upcoming reservation please contact us at [email protected]
ASSESSMENT NOTICES TO BE MAILED
The Webster County Assessor’s office plans to mail the 2020 property assessment notices to property owners around the week of March 23rd.
The notices are intended to inform the property owners of the estimated market value of their property. The values should not be confused with taxable value or the tax bill.
Vanguard Appraisals, Inc. of Cedar Rapids was awarded the contract to reappraise all Urban Residential property in the county in 2016. Company representatives have measured and attempted to inspect all property over the last two years. A sales analysis and a review of the information collected were conducted before the values were finalized.
Property owners will have an opportunity to meet with a representative of Vanguard Appraisals, Inc. beginning April 13th. These meetings are an opportunity for the property owner to submit any information which may affect the estimate of market value of their property. Property owners who wish to meet with a representative of Vanguard must request an appointment prior to April 10th, by calling the county assessor’s office at (515) 576-4721.
The last complete reappraisal of these properties was completed for the January 1, 1997 assessment date. The current reappraisal was conducted to equalize assessed values since not all properties have decreased or increased at the same rate since 1997. Company representative will not adjust the assessed values if the property owner objects to the new values based solely on the fact that there was an increase in assessed value. Property owners who disagree with the new values should be prepared to state their estimate of market value and present evidence to support that estimate.
Property owners will also have an opportunity to protest the new assessed values to the Board of Review. A written protest must be submitted between April 2nd and April 30th for the Board of Review to consider any adjustment.
Notice is hereby given that the Board of Supervisors of the Webster County, Iowa will conduct a public hearing on the proposal to adopt the Webster County Code of Ordinances of 2020. A copy of said codified ordinances is now on file at the office of the County Auditor and available for public inspection Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m... Said hearing will be held at 10:00 a.m., April 14, 2020 in the Board of Supervisors Room, Webster County Courthouse, 701 Central Ave., Fort Dodge, Iowa, at which time arguments for or against adopting said code as proposed will be heard and considered.
The County code contains new material summarized as follows:
- General Provisions Chapter (definitions, grammatical interpretation, prohibited acts, construction, catchlines, rights of entry)
- Penalty (general penalty civil penalty-county infraction)
Area Service System C Road Maintenance (definitions, how established, access, signs, trespass, reclassification, powers of the board, exemption from liability)
Area Service “B” Road Maintenance (definitions, powers of the board, authority to establish, evaluation of requests, notice and hearing, system B road service system established, maintenance policy, exemption from liability)
Flood Plain Ordinance (statutory authority, findings and purpose; general provisions, standards for flood plain development, special floodway provisions. Administration, nonconforming uses, penalties for violation, definitions)