SIOUX CITY | The quest that started in Moville will end in Lawton.
It will take 1 1/2 years, but the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 12 will meet the goal of holding meetings in each of the 14 towns outside the county seat of Sioux City.
From towns with a few hundred people to Sergeant Bluff with 4,300 residents, the five supervisors and some key county officials have gone to each locale to hear concerns of residents.
"People appreciate bringing their government to them where they are at," county board chairman Jeremy Taylor said.
The endeavor started off with the goal to hold full board meetings with agenda items addressed in those towns, but eventually that was scratched. Some meetings have tied in with city council meetings in the respective towns.
The aim all along is to reach county residents where they live, since few journey to the weekly Tuesday county supervisor meetings in the Woodbury County Courthouse in downtown Sioux City. The supervisors see it as necessary outreach to make sure people are heard.
Taylor said the meetings were a follow-through on a promise two years ago to increase accessibility to rural residents.
"Not only does this give us a chance as supervisors to discuss the direction of Woodbury County, but more importantly it's a listening post to hear concerns, questions and comments. In doing so, we have gotten to know our rural communities and the folks out there in an important way that staying in Sioux City would not allow us to do," Taylor said.
Lawton City Clerk Carla Eidenshink said the Dec. 12 meeting will be held at city hall from 7 to 8 p.m. Eidenshink said the council members were glad to set a meeting with the supervisors. One event that could crimp attendance is that the Lawton-Bronson School District has a holiday music concert the same evening.
When the first meeting occurred in Moville in June 2015, more than 50 people participated. Those on hand included the five supervisors, nine county employees, Moville Mayor Jim Fisher and three Moville City Council members. Another 35 people also turned out, with most of those from Moville and Sioux City, along with others from Correctionville, Bronson and Anthon.
Supervisor Larry Clausen said turnout in the towns has been wide-ranging. Clausen said that in some towns no one beyond the mayor and city council members attended. Taylor said the attendance average was about 20 to 30 people.
Clausen said the primary theme on questions has involved the quality of roads and bridges, so having County Engineer Mark Nahra along has been beneficial in the meetings. People wonder when a bridge might be replaced or ask about the quality of gravel roads.
"They are all legitimate questions. It is just a good thing for people to have that opportunity," Clausen said.
Clausen and Taylor said they expect outreach to rural residents will continue, but maybe more regionally and not in all towns.
"I do see the endeavor continuing but perhaps quarterly in several locations feasible for all rural residents to get to," Taylor said.