2/27/2013 9:52:00 AM Supervisors hold pair of meetings in past week
During its regular meeting Tuesday, February 19, the Allamakee County Board of Supervisors signed a proclamation declaring February to be Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Pictured above from left to right at the proclamation signing are Allamakee County Board of Supervisors Chairman Larry Schellhammer, Teresa Dehning of Helping Services for Northeast Iowa, and Allamakee County Board of Supervisors members Sherry Strub and Dennis Koenig. Standard photo by Bob Beach.
by Bob Beach
The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors held its regular weekly meeting last Tuesday, February 19 due to the President’s Day holiday and reconvened Monday, February 25.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19 During its holiday-delayed regular meeting Tuesday, February 19, the Board agreed on a three percent salary increase for department heads and non-union employees, with the exception of several positions that will see a larger salary increase. The Auditor’s Clerk’s salary will be increased to $11.50 per hour; the Motor Vehicle Clerk will earn 60 percent of the County Treasurer’s salary for 25 hours per week; the Veterans Affairs Director’s salary will increase to $30,620 annually and the Veterans Affairs employee will receive an annual salary of $23,242; and the Victim Witness Coordinator’s salary was set at $30,000 annually. The Board also approved the Compensation Board’s recommendation to increase the Board of Supervisors Chairperson stipend by $300 to $1,000 annually. Having concluded its budget discussions for the next fiscal year, the Board set Monday, March 11 at 10 a.m. as the date and time for a public hearing on the County’s budget for the coming fiscal year (the official notice of that public hearing is printed on page 10B of this week’s edition of The Standard). The Board also met with Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour, who presented the Board with a letter from Alliant Energy formally requesting that the Board vacate County Road 527, which runs along the river south of the Alliant Energy plant south of Lansing. Ridenour said that the request is “nothing new,” that Alliant has wanted the road closed for years, citing concerns about plant security and potential archaeological sites. Ridenour said that the road is currently classified as “level A,” the same classification as other County roads that are maintained for regular traffic. He said that the Board has the option to change the classification to either “level B” (limited maintenance) or “level C,” which would restrict access to County vehicles and adjacent land owners using a locked gate. Alliant Energy, in its letter to the County, said that it would support changing the road classification to “level C” as an alternative to vacating the road. Ridenour said that discussions with Raleigh Buckmaster regarding the south end of the road are ongoing. Supervisor Sherry Strub said that she sees no reason at this point to vacate the road. Chairman Larry Schellhammer said he thinks it would be appropriate to change the road’s classification to “level B,” which would be more in line with the current level of maintenance. Supervisor Dennis Koenig said he would like to see the road in question prior to making any decision on the matter. The Board also met with County Attorney Jill Kistler, who presented the Board with information regarding the 24/7 Offenders Program, which she said addresses Operating While Intoxicated cases in a non-traditional manner by requiring participants to submit to a breath test for alcohol twice a day. She said that the program has had a lot of success in other states, reducing recidivism rates by 50% and domestic violence by 10% and that there would be no cost to the County as the program is funded with federal money. She invited the Board to participate in a webinar on the program March 4. Zoning Administrator Tom Blake told the Board that two applications had been received to fill the vacancy on the County Planning and Zoning Commission. Marlene Imhoff-Duffy and Colleen Gragg had both expressed an interest in serving on the Commission. Supervisor Strub noted that Gragg has regularly attended Commission meetings and has professional knowledge of zoning issues. The Board voted unanimously to appoint Gragg to the Planning and Zoning Commission to serve the remainder of Doug Mullen’s term. The Board also set Monday, March 18 at 9:15 a.m. as the date and time for public hearing on the County Social Services management plan for mental health and developmental disabilities services. In other business last Tuesday, the Board signed a proclamation declaring February to be Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, calling on all community members to be part of the solution to what Teresa Dehning of Helping Services called “a wide-spread epidemic of teen dating violence.” The Board signed the final voucher for payment to Iowa Bridge and Culvert for the Bear Creek Bridge repair project, approved the use of County roads for detours during parades in Waukon and approved the purchase of two new pick-up trucks from Torkelson’s in Waukon for the Secondary Roads department. The Board also approved the purchase of new voting equipment from Henry M. Adkins & Sons, Inc. for $102,000 over three years and appointed Supervisor Sherry Strub to the Driftless Area Scenic Byway Board.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25 During its regular meeting Monday, February 25, the Board met with Jane Regan of Leschensky Insurance to review the County’s workers compensation and liability insurance. Regan asked the Board to consider changing its insurance carrier from EMC Insurance to Argent Insurance for its workers compensation policy. Regan said that Argent is more proactive with regard to loss control, which would keep the County’s long-term costs down. She said that Argent would encourage more safety meetings, instituting a “return to work” policy in which employees injured on the job could return to work for light duty, and have workers compensation claims reviewed by a designated doctor. The Board responded favorably to the proposal and Regan said that she would return to the Board later in the week with a premium quote from Argent. Regan also recommended that the Board consider increasing the County’s umbrella liability policy claim limit from the current eight million dollars to nine or ten million dollars. Supervisor Strub said that she doesn’t “want to be an open checkbook” for liability claims. Chairman Schellhammer and Supervisor Koenig agreed that the current eight million dollar liability limit should be adequate. Regan said that the County could change the limit at any time. The Board also met with Bruce Palmborg, representing Lansing Main Street Matters, who asked the Board to sign documents regarding a grant application to hire a consultant to help downtown Lansing get listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Palmborg said that by being included in the registry of historic places, downtown Lansing would benefit from promotion by the National Park Services and downtown business owners would become eligible for tax credits. The Board agreed to sign the grant agreement. The Board also met with County Engineer Brian Ridenour, who informed the Board of the upcoming retirement of long-time Secondary Roads employee Kim Walsh. The Board accepted Walsh’s retirement resignation effective April 15, with his last day of work being March 1. Ridenour also asked for and received the Board’s approval to hire Joshua Miller, an Iowa State University graduate, as a Civil Engineering Technician starting at $18.39 per hour. In other business, the Board approved the contract with Brennan Construction of Lansing for the bridge deck replacement at Ash Acres south of Lansing.
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