Supervisors approve architect for jail/public safety center project

by Bob Beach

During the regular meeting of the Allamakee County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, August 19, the Board met with Allamakee County Sheriff Clark Mellick, who reported that the Public Safety Center Committee had interviewed an engineering firm and three architectural firms and had agreed to recommend Rick Weidner, AIA of Bennington, NE to develop plans and specifications for the construction of a new jail and public safety center.
Mellick said that Weidner has extensive experience in jail design and has worked with the County's contracted jail consultant, John Hansen of Midwest Construction Consultants, on numerous similar projects. The Board accepted the Committee's recommendation and approved a contract with Rick Weidner, AIA that includes $8,500 for the initial plans and drawings and 6.35% of the final construction costs.
Mellick also reported that Hansen, Weidner and the Committee agreed to work towards getting a bond referendum on the ballot for this year's general election in November. Mellick said that the project cost would not exceed $4.9 million and that the bond referendum would require 60% approval by voters in order to pass.
Allamakee County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections Denise Beyer said that the deadline for information to be printed on the ballots for the November election is September 5. The Board directed Allamakee County Attorney Jill Kistler to develop a timeline to ensure that all deadlines can be met for the bond referendum.
The Board met with Case Management Director Kim Waters, who presented the Board with contracts for mental health and substance abuse services. The Board approved a contract with Northeast Iowa Behavioral Health for $160 per day, two days per week, for mental health services at Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon. The Board also approved a contract with Mercy Medical Center in Mason City for substance abuse services at $800 per day.
The Board also met with Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour, who presented the Board with price quotes for the installation of an emergency generator for the radio tower across Highway 9 from Makee Manor. On Ridenour's recommendation, the Board approved the low bid of $21,900 from Walsh Electric in Waukon, which includes full installation, an LP tank and a two-year, 400-hour warranty. Ridenour said that there may be additional charges from Alliant Energy to separate the electrical services to Makee Manor and the radio tower. He added that the project would be paid for out of the Secondary Roads budget and that funds awarded by FEMA for the removal of the underground diesel fuel tank at Makee Manor would be used to cover the cost.
Ridenour also presented the Board with a grant application to the Iowa Department of Transportation for traffic safety funds to help pay for the installation of solar-powered safety beacons at the corner of Old Highway 9 and Old Stage Road at a cost of approximately $11,000. He also told the Board that the cost of flattening Old Highway 9 west of the intersection to improve visibility would be approximately $584,000. The Board approved the grant application but took no action on the estimate to flatten the road. Ridenour said he is still working to get the trees at the intersection removed, which would also improve the safety and visibility at the intersection.
In other business, the Board signed a contract with the Iowa Department of Public Health in connection with a $10,000 grant for substance abuse prevention services. The Board also agreed to hire former Head Custodian Mike Gallagher for $14 per hour for 20 hours per week, retroactive to August 1.

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