New Home Child Care Provider Incentive Program for Jefferson County


Fairfield, Iowa (October 12th, 2018) The Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa Board is collaborating with the Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee to offer a new incentive program to anyone wishing to start a new child care program in their home or to become a registered child care home provider if they are already caring for children in their home. Participants in the program can receive up to $3,500 in incentives.

Home-based child care businesses enrolled in the incentive program, will need to work with Child Care Resource and Referral and the Jefferson County Child Care Nurse Consultant to begin an application. The new incentive program will provide the following tiered-incentives:

Requirement:                                                                        Incentive:

  • Become a DHS Registered Provider                                      $500.00
  • Remain a DHS Registered Provider 6 months                    $500.00
  • Remain a DHS Registered Provider 12 months                  $500.00
  • Remain a DHS Registered Provider 18 months                  $500.00
  • Remain a DHS Registered Provider 24 months                  $500.00
  • Become A Level 1 on Quality Rating System                        $500.00
  • Become A Level 2 on Quality Rating System                        $500.00

                                                                        $3,500.00 Total Incentive

“Our goal is to recruit five new home-based child care businesses in the Fairfield community by July 1, 2019. Home-based child care businesses will be eligible for incentive payment once they complete the quality and longevity requirements,” said Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Director for Iowa/Keokuk/Jefferson Early Childhood Iowa.

This new incentive program is in response to the committee’s three-tiered approach to addressing the child care shortage in the Fairfield Community:

• Assist Existing Child Care Business to Expand Services
• Recruit and Retain New Home-Based Child Care Businesses
• Open a New Child Care Facility in Fairfield

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director for Fairfield Economic Development Association said, “The work the steering committee has completed in the last few months has created a notable awareness in the community around the need for additional, quality and affordable child care spaces. We are not the only community in Iowa with a shortage of child care spaces, though in conversations on the state level, we are essentially forging the road in Fairfield with our strategic process. This new incentive is a helpful and measurable step towards closing the gap.”

The opportunity to create a thriving community by retaining, attracting and engaging families in the area depends on the availability of high quality, affordable, childcare. In an April 2018 survey in Jefferson County, 438 current and future parents articulated their challenges and desires regarding childcare. One take away from this survey is that, if a family can find affordable, high-quality child care, when they need it, they will stay in the school district, buy a home in the area, seek employment, patronize local businesses, and participate in community events. Child care is an important part of a community’s infrastructure; it is as critical as the built infrastructure.

In the first quarter of 2018, the Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee, the Fairfield Economic Development Association, and the Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Area Board commissioned First Children’s Finance of Des Moines to complete a Child Care Market Analysis to better understand the child care market in Jefferson County. The Child Care Market Analysis showed there are shortages in the number of child care slots for two-year old’s, and for full-day, full-year preschool for three and four-year old’s. Parents that participated in the market study identified a licensed center or a registered child care development homes as their most preferred options for providing care to their children.

There will be incentive information forthcoming for existing Registered Home-Based Providers.


Contact’s to learn more:

Mandi Lauderman, Jefferson County Public Health
County Child Care Nurse Consultant

Julie Ledger, Child Care Resources & Referral
Child Care Consultant

Media Contact:

Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Early Childhood Iowa
Director for Iowa, Keokuk and Jefferson Counties


2018 State Legislature Candidates Forum   


(Updated October 16th, 2018) The previously announced 2018 State Legislature Candidates Forum, scheduled for Thursday, October 25th at Fairfield Arts & Convention Center has now been expanded to include a “Meet & Greet” with candidates running for the offices of Jefferson County Treasurer and Jefferson County Attorney. The Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Fairfield Arts & Convention Center and Fairfield Economic Development Association are hosting the event and want to provide their members and the community an opportunity to hear from the candidates. This event is free and open to the public. Elections take place Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

Schedule for Thursday, October 25th

• 5:30p.m. -6:30p.m.
Meet & Greet with candidates running for County Treasurer and County Attorney. This will be an informal format held in the atrium at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.

County Treasurer candidates                   County Attorney candidates

Kesha Nelson (Lib.)                                    Tim Dille (Rep.) (Incumbent)
Mark Myers (Dem.)                                    Chauncey Moulding (Dem.)
Tammy Jones (Rep)

• 6:30p.m-7:00p.m.
Doors open in the Sondheim Theater for the State Legislature Forum. Attendees are encouraged to submit written questions during this time.

• 7:00p.m. -8:45p.m.
State Legislature Forum begins and will be moderated by Rustin Lippincott.

               Iowa Senate Dist. 41 candidates             Iowa House Dist.82 candidates

               Mary Stewart (Dem.)                                Phil Miller (Dem.) (Incumbent)
Mariannette Miller-Meeks (Rep.)         Jeff Shipley (Rep.)

Questions may be submitted prior to the event but no later than Tuesday, October 23rd by emailing Darien at the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce at: There will also be an opportunity to submit questions during the forum. For more information, contact Danielle at the Chamber by calling 641-472-2111

The Fairfield Arts & Convention Center is located at 200 North Main Street, Fairfield.

$200,000 Grant to Support Research on Cutting Edge Solar and Battery Storage Installations in Fairfield

Sandquist and Laraby Attend Non-Partisan Intergovernmental Affairs Conference at the White House Complex

FEDA Sponsers Candidate Forum

Thu, Oct 23 | 7:00 PM

With election time nearing, the Sondheim becomes the backdrop for a pair of forums featuring candidates for county and state offices at 7 p.m. Incumbent Democratic Iowa State Rep. Curt Hanson will share the stage with Republican challenger Jeff Shipley, both vying for the Iowa House District 82 seat.
Then, the spotlight will turn to incumbent Republican Jefferson County Supervisor Dick Reed and his independent challenger Jack Finn, both are seeking a spot on the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors at 8 p.m.
The audience will have a chance to submit questions to the candidates, which will be read by moderator Andy Hallman, news editor of The Fairfield Ledger.

City of Fairfield: Energy project to save at least 10 percent annually

By LACEY JACOBS, Ledger staff writer | Mar 01, 2012

Solar tubes in the ceiling of the Fairfield City Hall council chambers are aglow on a sunny afternoon. The solar tubes are just one of several energy efficient upgrades made to eight city-owned buildings in the last year. An extensive project to improve energy efficiency at eight city-owned buildings is expected to pay for itself over the next 6.5 years.

Fairfield City Councilman Michael Halley reported Monday the $481,376 project that began in 2009 is now complete.

One-third of the project was funded by a federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant through the Iowa Office of Energy Independence. Another $45,000 to $50,000 in rebates from Alliant Energy is anticipated, putting the cost to Fairfield at $271,000 to $276,000, which will be recouped in energy savings.

Many of the upgrades were as simple as retrofitting lamps and installing programmable thermostats. At the Fairfield Public Library alone, 836 light bulbs were changed and nine occupancy sensors were installed.

“As soon as the new lights were installed in the public area of our building, readers remarked about the difference. Everyone who walked into the building stopped and looked around, because the contrast was really noticeable,” library director Rebecca Huggins said.

Another 327 bulbs were replaced at Roosevelt Community Recreation Center, 219 at public works, 132 at waterworks and 150 at city hall. Occupancy sensors also were installed at city hall (13), the fire department (16) and the rec center (12).

At city hall, 57 lamp and ballast fixtures were replaced. At the waterworks, 24 thermostats were replaced, and at the rec center, two ultra high efficient water heaters were installed. The list of work goes on.

“Even though most of this stuff wasn’t very interesting, it’s the same stuff people can do to their houses or their offices. It was very much off-the-shelf technology — just doing stuff that anyone can do,” Halley said.

A couple of the improvements were a little more unique, including the six solar tubes installed in city hall’s roof to provide natural lighting. Halley also highlighted a solar fan installed in the roof of a wastewater pumping station.

“They just get broiling hot in the summer and any time wastewater people have to go out there it’s just unbearable, so we found these solar-powered fans. They sit on top, and when the sun shines it ventilates,” he said.

Much of the work was completed by local companies: Live Wire Electric, Zehr Electric and Jagen Plumbing and Heating.

Work got under way in January 2011 with installation of a new furnace at the waterworks. New lighting at the library was the next priority, and progress on the project continued through the fall.

Some of the plans changed along the way. Due to stipulations on federal funding, solar heating and a cover for the indoor municipal pool had to be eliminated. Halley said solar heating for the rec center showers was then considered, but ultimately found to have a poor payback.
Finding improvements with the shortest payback period was one goal of the project, Halley said.

“I feel really good about this project just in terms of the fiscal side of it — really making the most efficient use of taxpayers’ money,” he said.

Halley said Alliant Energy actually anticipates greater annual savings than the conservative 10 percent he used to calculate the payback period.

He also sees all of the work done thus far as just the first step — the next may be renewable energy projects, such as a large scale wind project: one of the objectives inFairfield’s go-green strategic plan.

“The city’s done its work and now we want to encourage citizens and businesses to follow suit,” Halley also said.

Alliant Energy’s Hometown Rewards Program works with cities to “enhance energy efficiency across the entire community,” he said. Sustainability coordinator Scott Timm will spearhead the program, kicking off in April.

Halley said a key aspect will be education, including informing consumers of the Alliant Energy rebates available to them. He also hopes to see an “energy audit blitz” that would provide free energy audits to half the town happen.

The end reward for meeting program goals is roughly $18,000 toward a renewable energy project, which Halley said with likely be photovoltaic panels on the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center or city hall.