Supervisors hold pair of sessions this past week due to Labor Day holiday

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in a pair of regular sessions within the past week due to the Labor Day holiday Monday, September 4. Coverage of both the Tuesday, September 5 and Monday, September 11 regular Board sessions appears below.

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Tuesday, September 5, delayed a day due to the Labor Day holiday Monday, September 4. The Board met at the Waterville Public Library to address a full agenda of items, including the language for the Bid Notice for the rental of the County Farm cropland and pasture, the Liquor License approval for the Allamakee County Conservation Foundation and setting a date and time for a Public Hearing for the Social Host Ordinance LVIII.

During Public Comment, Karen Schluter discussed concerns with the noise level produced by the rumble strips on County Highway X42 approaching the stop sign near Lansing. Schluter presented a petition signed by other neighbors living in the vicinity of this intersection with Great River Road and proposed that a stop sign with a blinking light be installed in place of the rumble strips. Schluter and the Supervisors discussed that the current standard is two rumble strips with the previous standard of three rumble strips being used on X42 and that a change to the new standard would be a one-third decrease in noise.

The Supervisors reviewed the language used for the Bid Notice for the rental of County Farm cropland and pasture. The Supervisors agreed the updated language was acceptable and that the bid notice would run in the newspaper for three weeks.

The Manure Management Plan update from Progressive Ag LLC was accepted and placed on file. The Supervisors also set September 18 at 9:40 a.m. for the date and time for the Public Hearing for the Social Host Ordinance LVIII.

Allamakee County Conservation Director James Janett was present for the Allamakee County Conservation Foundation's liquor license approval. Janett advised that the liquor license application for the Driftless Area Education and Visitors Center is for the sale of local Iowa wines for offsite consumption and is similar to what other centers have done in Iowa. The liquor license was approved by the Supervisors. Janett briefly discussed attendance figures at the Driftless Area Education and Visitors Center, with over 450 visitors the previous Sunday of Labor Day weekend.

Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer discussed attending the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) meeting regarding recertification elections with several meeting options in eastern Iowa. Beyer also discussed the need for temporary part-time help in the Auditor's office, and the Supervisors approved to allow the County Auditor to hire part-time help at her discretion during the absence of a staff member.

Supervisor Dennis Koenig addressed the employer of record issue in relation to County Social Services (CSS) and provided an overview of the recent CSS meeting. Koenig discussed the positives and negatives of being the employer of record for non-County employees, which will be addressed at the next CSS meeting.

Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour briefly discussed the Contract and Bond for the French Creek Bridge Replacement on Mays Prairie Road. Ridenour advised that information has yet to be received by mail and the matter will be reviewed at a future meeting.

Ridenour also addressed the resolution for the temporary road closure on North Fork Hollow Road for a bridge replacement, with September 5 as a starting date. The resolution was approved by the Supervisors.

Under Department Head Updates, Ridenour discussed information from the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) regarding watersheds that would be beneficial to the Upper Iowa River to prevent flooding and maintain water quality. Ridenour also advised that the Six-County meeting will take place Friday, September 8 in Fredericksburg and further discussed concerns relating to the rumble strips on County Highway X42, with the matter to be added to next week's agenda.

Ridenour also advised that 19 applications were received for a maintenance position in the Secondary Roads Department and that interviews will be conducted. Beyer advised that her office is busy with payroll, claims and preparing for elections.

As the meeting host, Library Director Heather Bente provided an update for the Waterville Public Library, including an overview of services and programs offered. Bente discussed programming for children and wreath and basket workshops that attract local and rural patrons.

The Supervisors toured the Waterville Fire Department with Assistant Chief Jeff Mitchell conducting the tour and providing an overview of the Fire Department's services and history. Mitchell discussed the positive changes with the new location, with 22 volunteers on the Fire Department and 14 volunteers on the Ambulance Service.

The Supervisors also visited the Dalaco facility on Elon Drive on their way back into Waukon following the meeting at the Waterville Library. Owner Rich Dreckman provided a tour of the facility, which sells concrete construction supplies to contractors including cement mix, rebar and other items. Dreckman discussed the growth of the business, serving contractors within a 150-mile radius and beyond, and the addition of sales of storage structures known as hoop buildings, utilizing local contractors for construction who are also customers of the business.

The Supervisors also visited Kol-Gol, Inc., a metal forming company also located on Elon Drive near Waukon, with President Frank Goltz providing a tour of the facility. Goltz provided an overview of the company's manufacturing processes involving various welding machines, CNC benders, welders and powder coat painting used in the creation of custom metal fixtures used in retail, agriculture and various other industries.

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, September 11 to address a full agenda of items, including the discussion regarding jail discharges and transportation, a Public Hearing for the Fiscal-Year 2018 budget amendment, and discussion of eliminating rumble strips on County Road X42 at its intersection with Country Road X52 near Lansing.

Chairperson Larry Schellhammer called the meeting to order and the current agenda and meeting minutes of September 5 were approved. There was no Public Comment heard nor read during that portion of the Monday's meeting.

The Supervisors moved into the Public Hearing for the Fiscal-Year 2018 budget amendment, which was opened and closed without written or verbal comment. The Fiscal-Year 2018 budget amendment and the Fiscal-Year 2018 budget amendment appropriations resolution were both approved for adoption by the board.

The Manure Management Plan update for the Martins' Site, owned by Jason and Jill Martins, was accepted and placed on file.

Allamakee County Sheriff Clark Mellick discussed concerns relating to jail discharges and transportation. Mellick explained that previously, discharges from the Allamakee County Courthouse jail facility would often walk to a residence or elsewhere within town, if not picked up. Mellick discussed that with the Public Safety Center location a few miles outside of Waukon, there have been situations where discharged individuals have walked along the highway to reach Waukon, when unable to secure transportation.

Mellick advised that winter weather conditions are a safety concern for those discharged without transportation and that following discharge, the Sheriff's Department no longer has custody creating some liability concerns for using a squad car as transport. Mellick and the Supervisors discussed several options, including the use of the transit bus from Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation (NEICAC), and funding options, including the use of a percentage of sentencing fees, charging a booking fee and the use of donations to cover transportation costs.

Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour discussed the contract and bond for the French Creek Bridge replacement on Mays Prairie Road, with his recommendation of the low bid from Brennan Construction of Lansing at $501,833.35. Ridenour indicated that construction on this project will begin next summer. The Supervisors approved the bid from Brennan Construction.

Ridenour also discussed the possibility of eliminating the rumble strips on County Road X42 near its County Road X52 intersection and advised that 14 residences are affected as indicated by the petition presented by resident Karen Schluter at the September 5 Supervisors meeting. Ridenour indicated that the long-range safety plan prepared by consultants recommends the use of rumble strips but the current standard calls for two rumble strips, rather than the three currently at this intersection.

Schluter further advised that the speed limit signage in that area is not adequate, with the speed limit at 45 m.p.h. at the first rumble strip and no 25 m.p.h. signage to make drivers slow down and, in the process, lessen the noise created by the rumble strips. Supervisor Dan Byrnes agreed with Ridenour's recommendation to keep the rumble strips as a safety measure.

Supervisor Dennis Koenig discussed moving up the speed limit signage to require vehicles to slow down earlier. Schluter recommended additional speed limit signage to require vehicles to slow down, including 45 m.p.h., 35 m.p.h. and 25 m.p.h. Schellhammer recommended that the speed limit signage be checked as signs may be missing or broken and that a resolution could be created for the installation of additional signage with speed zones. Ridenour agreed to have the signage confirmed at that location and will provide an update at the next board meeting.

Under Department Head updates, Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker discussed the recent Northeast Iowa Emergency Response meeting and the upcoming Hazardous Materials Conference.

Mellick discussed that the Sheriff's Department has remained busy and that recently there was a tragic farm accident near the Churchtown area. Mellick said that he would like to see additional public service announcements for farm safety to increase awareness and caution in operating farm machinery.
Ridenour discussed the recent Six-County meeting he attended. Mellick and Snitker also discussed the use of drones for search and rescue purposes.

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