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Newscast 1.2.2024: Sioux City's first baby of 2024 born; Woodbury County Supervisors begin work 2025 budget & tap Ung as chairman

Matthew Ung 2024
Matthew Ung

SIOUX CITY — The Woodbury County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday got their first meeting of 2024 started with some substantial steps, selecting a chairman for the year and taking their first look in the process of setting a fiscal year 2025 budget.

The supervisors went with the rare step of having a person serve as chairman two years in a row, as Matthew Ung was unanimously selected. Ung served as chairman in 2023, and he noted a person has not held the chairmanship for two years in a row since 16 years ago, as the practice is to rotate it annually.

Ung then recommended Supervisor Dan Bittinger for vice chairman, and Bittinger was then voted in for that role. Ung said Bittinger is versed for the position, plus the other three supervisors – Mark Nelson, Keith Radig and Jeremy Taylor – have terms that expire at the end of 2024, and are potentially up for re-election.

Ung said that over the last month he has received encouragement from people inside and outside of county government to return as chairman. He said a goal is to set a 2024-25 budget without increasing the county property tax levy rate.

The supervisors also took first look at the proposed 2025 budget, which County Finance Director Dennis Butler estimated at $86.6 million dollars.

The initial budget proposal took into account the submitted budgets of individual county departments. Property taxes are the largest source of revenues for Woodbury County government, and the first budget draft discussed Tuesday shows an projected increase of property tax levy rates. The supervisors will aim to make cuts and other moves to reduce the budget.

Butler said national inflation is at 3 percent, and there are rising costs ahead with the functioning of the new county jail that is planned for an April opening.

In Iowa, all counties have until April 30 to finalize budgets that run from July 1, 2024, through June 30, 2025.

In other news, UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s has announced the first Sioux City baby of the new year was born early on January 1. The baby is named Dmitri, and was born at 1:07 a.m., at a time when some people were still up celebrating the arrival of 2024.

St. Luke’s also recently released the most popular names of the 2023 babies born at the Sioux City hospital.

The top names for girls were Mia at the top, followed by Olivia, Charlotte, Harper and Nova. The most popular boy names were Mateo, James, Liam, Lucas and Cooper.

Unity Point Health-St. Luke’s is the top birth center in Siouxland, with more than 2,000 babies born there.

Nationally, the most popular baby names were Olivia and Noah, so Siouxlanders were in sync with the trend of girl names in 2023.