Supervisors discuss combined city and school elections, workers compensation dividend and potential removal of communications tower, among other matters at December 26 meeting

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, December 26 to address a full agenda of items including a workers compensation dividend presentation, discussion of city and school combined election expenses and the consideration of quotes to remove and salvage a two-way communication tower on the County Farm.

During Public Comment, Leon Mohn presented a petition signed by approximately 150 individuals that are against the potential paving of Heytman Drive and are requesting that the project be removed from the county’s five year plan. Mohn asked the Supervisors to consider this petition when making their final decision.

Jane Regan with Upper Iowa Insurance Services provided a workers compensation presentation and review for the county. Regan discussed the dividend check issued to the county for $28,292.00 representing a good end of year loss ratio. Regan indicated that the dividend was a positive sign for the county and reflects the safety consciousness of employees and departments with few workers compensation claims. Chairperson Larry Schellhammer and Supervisors Dan Byrnes and Dennis Koenig discussed non-dividend plans versus dividend plans with Regan providing feedback on each.

The Supervisors moved into the consideration of using the county credit card for a software subscription. County Attorney Anthony Gericke discussed the potential use of a cloud-based software system as a way to streamline the dissemination and access of information for public defenders while providing cost savings by eliminating the burning of dvds and associated work hours to do so. The Supervisors authorized Gericke to use the county credit card to make a one-time annual payment for this subscription service.

Zoning Administrator Tom Blake individually presented four plat requests including Ken-Dine Enterprises, William G. Bresnahan, Timothy J. Steffenson and Collin Cota with each being approved by the Supervisors.

County Sheriff Clark Mellick provided a recommendation to appoint Andrew Weber of Lansing as a transport officer for the County Sheriff’s Office on an as-needed basis. Mellick discussed Weber’s qualifications and provided a recommendation to hire per the Union contract at $13 per hour with December 30 as a start date, which the Supervisors approved.

County Auditor Denise Beyer discussed legislation passed in 2017, taking effect in 2019, which requires the combining of city and school elections. Beyer discussed challenges including an increased number of polling sites and poll workers and changes necessary from a reimbursement standpoint with extensive calculations required due to the combination of city and school elections. Beyer discussed a proposal for the county to assume election expenses with special election expenses to be paid by school districts. Beyer discussed some feedback and concerns received from other county auditors within Iowa and further discussed some variables yet to be addressed by the state including publication requirements for the variations of ballots throughout the county. Byrnes advised that communication with other county auditors continue with these issues to be further discussed at the next Six-County meeting.

Beyer recommended that feedback be provided to legislators from county auditors collectively to address matters related to this legislation and the combination of city and school elections.

County Engineer Brian Ridenour discussed quotes received for the removal and salvage of the two-way communications tower located on the County Farm. Quotes were received from Elite Elevations of Chariton, Blackhawk Tower Communications of Sun Prairie, WI and Murphy Tower Service of Carlisle.

Ridenour discussed the quotes received with two options involving disassembly to the ground and the other also including stacking, salvage, labeling of parts and bagging bolts. The Supervisors, Mellick and Ridenour discussed leaving the two-way communications tower as-is on the County Farm while contacting other jurisdictions about a potential sale.

Under Department Head Updates, Solid Waste Manager Dave Mooney provided an update on the Solid Waste Department’s Five-Year Comprehensive plan, which has been accepted by the DNR.

Mellick discussed water usage at the Public Safety Center and that he recently met with Veterans Memorial Hospital regarding death investigation protocol. Mellick further discussed the roles of the medical examiner and the medical examiner investigator.

Ridenour discussed preparations for upcoming weather and road conditions and provided an update on the English Bench Site #9 Watershed.

Beyer indicated that budget preparation is ongoing and discussed the Supervisors meetings that will take place the following week Monday, December 31 and Wednesday, January 2 with the County Courthouse closed Tuesday, January 1 for the New Years Day holiday.

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