Mahaska County Board of Supervisors Discusses Airport Voting Options

By Sam Parsons

The Mahaska County Board of Supervisors met this morning and had another discussion about the proposed South Central Regional Airport. The board discussed options for a county-wide vote on the status of the airport after indefinitely tabling the issue of the closure of 220th street for the sake of the airport at its most recent meeting. 

County attorney Andrew Ritland said he looked into what options were available for the county to put the issue on the ballot, and said the results weren’t promising.

Ritland said such a vote would be best suited for the initiative and referendum process, which is a city-based process that only applies to charter cities. According to Ritland, Oskaloosa is one of 7 charter cities in the state of Iowa, but the city council recently passed an ordinance amending the city charter to remove the section pertaining to initiative and referendum. A petition was filed in response from the required number of voters in the city to put the issue of initiative and referendum on the ballot; but as for the airport itself, Ritland said he didn’t “see a legal way for the COUNTY to ask the question it wants to ask on the official ballot.” The county would be able to conduct a public opinion poll outside of the structure of the official ballot, but it wouldn’t have any direct effect on policy.

No official action on the matter was taken at the meeting today.


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