Supervisors discuss contracting for medical services at Public Safety Center jail facility

Supervisors try out impaired driving simulator ... Allamakee County Board of Supervisors Chairman Larry Schellhammer tries to maneuver his way through a coned course during an impaired driving simulation demonstration at the Monday, October 16 Allamakee County Board of Supervisors regular meeting. Allamakee Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) will be taking the pedal-powered go-cart and impaired vision simulation goggles to area schools and events to illustrate the dangers of impaired driving. Standard photo by Joe Moses.

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, October 16 to address a full agenda of items, including the discussion of contracting medical services for the Allamakee County Public Safety Center jail facility, approval of the Conservation Board Management Agreement for the Village Creek Boat Landing and discussion of a potential new two-way radio/communications tower to be built on the County Farm.

During Public Comment, Tim Anthony, a resident living near Village Creek, discussed the application of gravel with much being lost in ditches, the ongoing maintenance of roads using motor graders, his recommendation to use a rubber tire roller for compaction and concerns about the grade of rock being used on gravel roads, which he says has caused six flat tires on his vehicles. Board Chairperson Larry Schellhammer described the ongoing process used by the County in maintaining Secondary Roads with a rotation or schedule being used in the application of gravel. Later in the meeting, Schellhammer advised that Anthony discuss his concerns with Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour regarding the gravel conditions near his property.

Lori Egan, a candidate for Iowa House of Representatives District 56, discussed the economic development benefits of improving broadband access in Allamakee County for tele-commuters and the business community.  Schellhammer and Supervisor Dennis Koenig discussed that the terrain and presence of rock creates challenges for underground cable with improvements still being encouraged.

Quarterly reports for the County Recorder were accepted and placed on file. Allamakee County Zoning Administrator Tom Blake presented plat requests for EB Ag LLP and Beardmore Inc. Both were individually reviewed and approved.

Allamakee County Sheriff Clark Mellick discussed the potential contracting of medical services for the jail facility in the newly-constructed Allamakee County Public Safety Center. Mellick indicated that Advanced Correctional Medical Services has expressed interest and that a meeting with Allamakee County Attorney Jill Kistler and County officials has been suggested for a presentation. Mellick explained that their services would involve some on-site medical staff including a nurse once a week for four hours, mental health services for three hours every other week and 24/7 on-call services, eliminating some emergency room visits. The Supervisors and Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer discussed the need to accept bids from any other service providers if there is interest in moving forward on this matter.

Allamakee County Conservation Director Jim Janett discussed the Conservation Board Management Agreement for the Village Creek Boat Landing. Janett explained that the Conservation Board has pursued funding from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for improvements to pavements, docks and restrooms utilizing Marine Fuel Tax (MFT) funds with a 25-year agreement and a 30-day written notice to exit the agreement.

Janett further explained that State funding will be used for some of the large-scale improvements to Village Creek Boat Landing that make up a $1.6 million project, with some ongoing maintenance responsibilities that are minor. Janett discussed that the usage level of the Village Creek Boat Landing has allowed it to qualify for these competitive State funds and that these improvements will stimulate the local economy. The Supervisors approved the agreement.

Ridenour discussed the final payment voucher for the Secondary Roads project involving the bridge across Norfolk Creek on Yellow River Drive with Brennan Construction as contractor. The final payment voucher was approved by the Supervisors.

Ridenour also addressed the next agenda item involving a potential new two-way radio/communications tower being built on the County Farm. Ridenour discussed the need to open preliminary discussions on this matter, with Alliant Energy expressing interest in adding additional antennas to the 180-foot, self-supported existing tower, which, following a structural analysis, was determined not advisable. Ridenour discussed that Alliant has proposed a 240-foot self-supported tower to be built between the Public Safety Center and the recycling center.

Ridenour advised that the existing tower was built in 1980 and would likely be dismantled with all equipment being moved to the new tower, which Alliant has proposed to fund the cost of construction for. Supervisor Dan Byrnes discussed the importance of ensuring that the County's needs are met with placement on the new tower and that the Rural Electric Cooperative's (REC) services continue as before in the transfer. The Supervisors agreed that discussions on the matter should continue.

Under Department Head Updates, Ridenour discussed that Justin Lyons has started as a Maintenance Person in the Secondary Roads Department and that sand hauling in preparation for winter should be completed soon. Mellick discussed the Sheriff's Department's involvement in the intense missing person search that has involved search dogs, drones and search on foot.

Beyer discussed that a recent audit went well and provided an update on an actuarial report from Nyhart, a consulting, actuarial and administrative services company. She said absentee voting is available in the Auditor's Office for city elections.

The Supervisors meeting moved to the Public Safety Center for a demonstration of an impaired driving simulator. Coordinator Jean Bossom with Allamakee Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) advised that the pedal-powered go-cart will be used at area schools and events to illustrate the dangers of impaired driving. Schellhammer, Byrnes, Koenig, Beyer and Egan each drove the go-cart through a course consisting of road cones while wearing goggles simulating the effect of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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