Mark Smeby and Worth County: "A Land of Opportunity"

Mark Smeby and Worth County: "A Land of Opportunity" Main Photo

29 May 2024

News, Blog

Throughout his eight years as a Worth County Supervisor, Mark Smeby has spent much of his time working to lower property taxes and advocate for local farmers and agriculture businesses.

Smeby is also a full-time farmer who graduated from Lake Mills Community High School and Iowa State University. In their free time, Smeby and his wife enjoy eating local cuisine, riding in his convertible and traveling the Midwest.

A Need for Youth

Smeby believes that bringing youth to Worth County should be its central focus and that new jobs are the key.

“I know that our workforce is already short in Worth County,” said Smeby. “We need some quality jobs that would make a young person come back here... Our school systems aren’t growing, and without young people bringing their children, they will continue to shrink.”

The county’s work to maintain low tax levies may be another factor that will entice young families to move here. But, like many other Iowa counties, Worth County is fighting for new housing developments to allow for this growth.

“As a property owner in Worth County, my goal is to try to grow our property tax base, which should allow us to keep our levies lower,” said Smeby.

Growing Business and Agriculture

Smeby is a wind farm advocate and has been involved with Worth County’s first wind farm for 25 years. According to him, this farm, as well as several other wind farms are interested in rebuilding and/or maintaining their presence in Worth County. These prospects excite Smeby as wind farms are a viable revenue source for the county.

Smeby believes that there are many other business opportunities in Worth County, but that “we need to embrace it a little better than we have.”

“We need to be more open-minded in Worth County to businesses that maybe some of us think don’t suit our needs here,” Smeby said. “There’s a lot of opportunity to get revenue growth, but it might not be everyone’s idea of what we want here.”

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Smeby finds great success in numbers, especially with the assistance of his fellow Worth County Supervisors, AJ Stone and Enos Loberg.

“As a supervisor, you are only one person, one vote,” Smeby said. “It takes all three of us to make projects come around. We all have to end up on the same page to make Worth County grow.”

These three work closely with Winn-Worth Betco Executive Director Melissa Michaelis to help potential businesses and developers find grants and programs before, hopefully, choosing Worth County as their home.

For Smeby, collaboration goes even further than the bond Winn-Worth Betco brings to Winnebago and Worth Counties. He believes that it’s essential for all of North Iowa to work together to achieve their goals.

“Worth County is a land of opportunity,” said Smeby. “There’s recreation and nice parks, things to do and great restaurants. If you have an idea and want to come up here and start a business, we would love to help you!”

By Kaylee Schuermann, Winn-Worth Betco Marketing Director

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