County Farm land lease, letter of support for new Visitor Center among Supervisors' agenda items

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, August 21 to address a full agenda of items, including the consideration of a letter of support for the Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center's nomination to be included on the Great River Road website and marketing materials, the Temporary Road Closure for Four Mile Drive, and the Contract and Bond for a Bridge Replacement on North Fork Hollow Road.

Chairperson Larry Schellhammer called the meeting to order and the current agenda and meeting minutes of August 14 were approved. The Supervisors moved into Public Comments with resident Andrea Carstens discussing the Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) Master Matrix scoring system used in the siting of confined animal feeding operations (CAFO). Carstens discussed that Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) has requested that she visit with the Allamakee County Supervisors regarding an upcoming Master Matrix meeting taking place September 16 by the DNR.

Carstens explained that a letter may have been sent from Iowa CCI and if not received, she would be providing the information to the Supervisors. Carstens commented that she would like to see the Master Matrix beefed up to better protect the environment and expressed concerns about the economic impact the increasing number of CAFOs could have, should the hog market "bottom out." Schellhammer and Supervisors Dan Byrnes and Dennis Koenig discussed a variety of issues with Carstens relating to the pork industry.

Allamakee County Assessor Ann Burckart discussed the Iowa Forest Reserve Program, which provides tax benefits for the preservation of woodlands, and a recent meeting with Iowa Senators Ken Rozenboom and Amy Sinclair. Burckart provided a history of the program and discussed a variety of issues relating to the Forest Reserve Program.

The Supervisors discussed the wording of an advertisement for the rental of the County Farm crop and pasture land. Koenig discussed meeting with Sara Berges of the Allamakee County Soil and Water Conservation District regarding the matter. The Supervisors decided to take no action at this time and to consult with Allamakee County Attorney Jill Kistler on the wording of the advertisement.

The Supervisors moved into reviewing a plat request for the Edwin L. Weymiller Estate. Allamakee County Zoning Administrator Tom Blake discussed that the property is to be separated between tillable and non-tillable and that it is his understanding that this division is for two of Weymiller's children and that the Planning and Zoning Commission has recommended approval. The Supervisors approved the plat request.

Manure Management Plan updates for Mike Klinge and the Martins' site, owned by Jason and Jill Martins, were both accepted and placed on file. The Supervisors also discussed the draft permit for EB Ag's construction application. Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer advised that the Supervisors have the authority to contest, but if no action is taken, the matter moves forward after a 14-day period. No action was taken by the Supervisors.

Allamakee County Conservation Director Jim Janett discussed the letter of support for the Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center nomination form for inclusion of the Center within Great River Road promotional materials. Janett explained the nomination process and that a letter of support from the Supervisors will assist the Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center in being added to the Great River Road website and marketing materials, including maps.

Janett advised that there is no financial obligation associated with this listing and that similar interpretive centers, museums and landmarks are included. The Supervisors approved and Schellhammer will be signing the nomination letter on behalf of the Board of Supervisors.

Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour discussed the Temporary Road Closure Resolution for Four Mile Drive, which will involve a small bridge within Lansing Township and a small pre-cast structure. Ridenour estimated the project will take three to four weeks. The Supervisors approved the road closure.

Ridenour provided information regarding the Contract and Bond for a Bridge Replacement on North Fork Hollow Road with low bidder Taylor Construction of New Vienna to handle the project. Ridenour advised that the low bid was $444,118.10 with a project start date likely within a month. The contract and bond were approved and signed.

Under Department Head Updates, Ridenour advised that the rescheduled John Deere facility tour will take place Tuesday, August 29. Ridenour also discussed that pavement patching near the power plant has finished and grinding of the patches will occur next week. Beyer discussed the August 28 Department Head meeting, and she also advised that school election ballots are ready with absentee voting to begin and the canvass for school election taking place Friday, September 15.

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