Supervisors hear favorable audit review, approve resolution opposing legislation allowing heavier weight limits for transporting forestry products on non-primary highways

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, March 25 to address a full agenda of items including a request to place pinwheels and signage on the County Courthouse lawn for National Child Abuse Prevention Month, consideration of a Health Insurance Committee recommendation for Fiscal-Year 2020 health insurance for County employees and an appointment to the Historic Preservation Commission.

During Public Comment, Executive Director Val Reinke with Allamakee County Economic Development (ACED) discussed the 6th Annual Allamakee County Chili Cook-Off held March 16 in Lansing. Reinke also discussed the Friends of Yellow River State Forest group with fundraising projects to include firewood sales and aluminum can collection and that grant writing is being looked into for a variety of projects.

Reinke further indicated that the Waterville Expo took place last weekend and that a feasibility study will be conducted relating to options for the portion of the former Waterville School building built in 1923. Reinke advised that Iowa State University will be visiting Allamakee County Wednesday, March 27 to conduct roundtable discussions and interviews as follow-up to the efforts of the Northeast Iowa Business Network and work being done in developing a recruitment action plan.

Reinke also shared that a greenhouse tour in northeast Iowa is scheduled for the end of April with three stops planned in Allamakee County. She also discussed work being done on the Effigy Mounds National Monument’s visioning plan and that the Childcare Summit took place March 15 was well attended. Reinke also provided an update on the Northeast Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Neil Schraeder with Hacker, Nelson and Co. P.C. provided an overview of Allamakee County’s Fiscal-Year 2018 audit report indicating that he received good cooperation from the County staff involved in the process. Schraeder discussed 2018 financial highlights, revenues and expenditures and various trends and analysis contained in a variety of graphs. He provided an overall positive review of the audit with discussion of minor areas for improvement.

Child Abuse Prevention, CPPC Coordinator and Certified Family Educator Shelby Henkelman with Helping Services for Youth and Families advised that April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and requested permission for pinwheels and signage recognizing this to be placed on the Allamakee County Courthouse lawn. The Supervisors approved the placing of signage and pinwheels on the courthouse lawn in recognition of April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The Supervisors moved into the discussion and consideration of the Health Insurance Committee’s recommendation for Fiscal-Year 2020 county health insurance and related matters. Group and Individual Health/Benefit Consultant Brian Huinker with Midwest Group Benefits provided an overview of the Health Insurance Committee’s research and recommendation of a plan provided by Aetna. The Supervisors approved the Aetna plan with an $800 monthly County contribution for each employee.

Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer discussed the next agenda item involving an increase for the Medical Flex maximum contribution for Fiscal-Year 2020. Beyer advised that the maximum allowed by the IRS is changing to $2,700, which was approved by the Supervisors for the County plan.

Allamakee County Zoning Administrator Tom Blake individually presented five plat requests to the Supervisors providing detailed information on each. Plat requests from Dennis J. and Judy L. Byrnes, Lenny L. and Linda L. Scheffert, Danny L. Cole Sr., and Oswald W. and Carol Lee Goettler were approved.

Blake indicated that the Planning and Zoning Commission has recommended that a plat request from David D. Vorwald not be approved, but rather postponed until additional information is provided and necessary documentation be signed. No action was taken by the Supervisors on that matter.

The Manure Management Plan for Devin Humpal Site #1 was accepted and placed on file. The appointment of Steve Wiedner of Waukon to the Historic Preservation Commission was also discussed and approved.

Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour discussed the detour route for the 2019 Memorial Day Parade in Waukon. Ridenour indicated that the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) requires permission from the Board of Supervisors to use Iron Mine Drive (A44) and a portion of Ninth Street SW (X12) as a detour for primary roads Hwy. 9 and Hwy. 76 for the Memorial Day Parade scheduled for 9:30-11 a.m. Monday, May 27. The Supervisors approved the detour application for the Memorial Day Parade.

Ridenour provided an overview of the next agenda item involving the consideration of a resolution opposing Senate File 184, which would allow the transport of forestry product loads up to 130,000 pounds on non-primary highways throughout Iowa. Ridenour presented a copy of the proposed resolution stating the Board of Supervisors’ opposition to the proposed legislation. Ridenour explained that the resolution indicates that Allamakee County does not want changes to Iowa Code 321 to allow heavier trucks on the 700 miles of gravel roads and 170 miles of paved roads within the county, with most roads at a maximum weight of up to 80,000 pounds currently. Ridenour indicated that Senator Mike Breitbach of the 28th District and the Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC) would be receiving a copy of the resolution, which encourages all Iowa legislators to oppose Senate File 184. The resolution was approved by the Supervisors.

Under Department Head Updates, Allamakee County Sheriff Clark Mellick discussed the need for an ordinance to assist in recouping animal control costs and to regulate dog populations that are out of control involving domesticated dogs turning feral while operating out of a home base. Mellick indicated that work on this matter has begun with Allamakee County Environmental Health Director Laurie Moody and the Board of Health.

Beyer discussed the Fiscal-Year 2017 single audit review and that satellite voting will take place during parent/teacher conferences at the Postville Community School.

Ridenour indicated that the A26 (Irish Hollow Creek) bridge near New Albin will be closed starting Monday, March 25. Ridenour recommended the use of Cars 511 on the DOT website for information on road construction, detours or closures statewide. Ridenour also discussed upcoming meetings, dust control and indicated that following Monday’s meeting, he and the Supervisors would be touring road projects in the southern portion of the county.

Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker discussed the presidential disaster declaration for Iowa with an estimate of over $1 billion in damage throughout the state. Snitker also discussed the rising level of the Mississippi River and area flooding concerns.

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