Supervisors advised of issues discovered in pair of recent road project bids, set July 2 as public hearing date for change in ordinance in regard to tower setback requirements

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, June 11 to address a full agenda of items including the temporary closure of Green Valley Road, receiving a recommendation for a proposed change in the Zoning Ordinance text from the Planning and Zoning Commission and the consideration of bids for the Makee Drive paving and Dorchester Drive culvert projects.

During Public Comment, Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker discussed recent weather conditions and rainfall with area river levels being above normal. Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour discussed that half of the Secondary Roads crew was working Sunday with water over a few pavements and gravel roads.

Resident Phillip Hammell of New Albin advised that he disagreed with a recent change to an ordinance that will allow old technology to continue to invade the local area with the tall G4-capable towers being an issue with G5 becoming the new standard with fiber optic technology. Hammell indicated that he will be in attendance for the public hearing regarding this matter.

The Supervisors moved into the consideration of disallowance of the Disabled Veterans Homestead Tax Credits, with Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer indicating that the requirement for this tax credit has changed and is now set at being 100% permanently disabled.

The Supervisors approved the disallowance of two Disabled Veterans Homestead Tax Credits as presented.

The Supervisors reviewed transfers from Rural Services and the General Fund to the Secondary Roads Department. Before voting on this measure, Ridenour advised that the dollar amounts were higher than what had been previously discussed and did not match his budget request. Due to the discrepancy, the Supervisors agreed to postpone the vote on this matter until the June 18 Supervisors meeting.

Allamakee County Zoning Administrator Tom Blake discussed a recommendation for a proposed change in the Allamakee County Zoning Ordinance text from the Planning and Zoning Commission. Blake advised that the current ordinance specifies that towers greater than 35 feet shall not be placed within one-quarter mile of the bluff and protection district with the Planning and Zoning Commission recommending exclusions be added for those used as governmental and public projects, utilities and fencing. Blake further discussed that the Planning and Zoning Commission believes this is a clarification of the ordinance specifying those three uses will be exempt from the setback.

Blake provided a recommendation of either June 25 or July 2 as possible dates for the public hearing regarding the change in text of that zoning ordinance, with the Supervisors approving July 2 at 9:40 a.m. for that public hearing.

The Supervisors moved into the consideration for Makee Drive paving and Dorchester Drive culverts, with Ridenour indicating that there were errors associated with bids involved with these projects. Ridenour discussed reviewing the bids and having the County Auditor review them as well and that it was determined that due to a calculation error by a contractor, the Makee Drive paving bid received from Wicks Construction of Decorah at $1,086,060.95 is now the low bidder for the project and is below the engineer’s estimate. That bid was then approved by the Supervisors.

Ridenour discussed the Dorchester Drive culverts project with Donlon Brothers of Elgin being the low bidder, as discussed at the June 4 Supervisors meeting. Ridenour indicated that Donlon Brothers did not sign their bid bond and that he recommends that all bids for this project be rejected, with the next highest bid being above the engineer’s estimate and that the project be delayed. The Supervisors approved to reject the bids received for the Dorchester Drive culverts project.

Ridenour discussed setting a letting date for Secondary Roads projects that will involve a maintenance project to include 768 square yards of full depth concrete patching on various pavement throughout the county. Ridenour recommended setting June 25 at 10 a.m. as the letting date for this project, which was then approved by the Supervisors.

The resolution for the temporary closure of Green Valley Road was discussed by Ridenour, indicating that construction will start today with closure of the road. Ridenour indicated the temporary access for Green Valley Getaway has been successfully installed for use by customers and employees during the project.

Allamakee County Sheriff Clark Mellick briefly discussed use of the temporary access for emergency vehicles, if need be. The Supervisors approved the resolution for the temporary closure of Green Valley Road. Ridenour indicated that the road closure will last two and a half to three months.

Under Department Head Updates, Ridenour discussed the financial impact of recent weather and flooding. He also said that a new Caterpillar motor grader arrived last week and that a new John Deere motor grader is likely to arrive this week.

Snitker discussed the Hazard Mitigation Plan with cities and other entities scheduled to review and adopt in the near future. Snitker indicated that a full-scale response exercise is scheduled for the power plant in Lansing and that the Big Four Fair, Hometown Celebration Parade and Dairy Days Parade will be this weekend in Postville. Snitker also advised that three new automated external defibrillators (AED) have been purchased as the result of grant funding. He also advised that he will be attending some continuing education classes in Des Moines.

Sheriff Mellick discussed the recent Public Safety Center tour and inspection with Midwest Construction Consultants and that representatives of Houston County in Minnesota recently received a demonstration of Allamakee County’s search and rescue drone. Mellick also discussed filling sand bags in preparation for the recent heavy rains.

Allamakee County Conservation Director Jim Janett discussed some minor cleanup and damage to areas along the Upper Iowa River and Yellow River due to recent rainfall. Janett indicated that the previous weekend was very busy and well attended at the Driftless Education and Visitors Center in Lansing and that interviews are scheduled next week to fill a vacancy within the Conservation Department.

Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer discussed that this will be a busy week with the canvassing of the June 5 Primary Election results. Blake also discussed the recent flood plain map meeting with 18-20 individuals in attendance.

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