Supervisors review County’s ATV/UTV Ordinance with input from local club members

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, June 10 to address a full agenda of items including the annual review of the County’s ATV/UTV Ordinance, an update relating to the Iowa Partnerships for Success Grant and consideration of vehicle bids for the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Department.

During Public Comment, Executive Director Val Reinke with Allamakee County Economic Development (ACED) indicated that arrangements have been made for the Supervisors to tour the Prairie Industries facility in Lansing following the board’s regular meeting scheduled in July at the Meehan Memorial Lansing Public Library, a visit scheduled as part of the Supervisors’ annual tour of public libraries within the county. Reinke also discussed the Second Annual Conference Connecting Midwest Bloggers and Midwest Destinations taking place June 13-15 in Medora, ND with food and tourism blogger Jay Jay Goodvin, “The Iowa Gallivant,” providing some exposure for Allamakee County at the event, relaying his positive experiences traveling in the county.

Reinke also discussed the red carpet premiere of the short film shot in the Lansing area, “The Burial”, scheduled for Thursday, June 20 at TJ Hunter’s in Lansing to involve a viewing of the film and a Q&A session with filmmaker Jack Meggers and others involved in the project. Reinke also mentioned the Big Four Fair in Postville scheduled for June 14-16.

Jerry Halverson of Waukon discussed concerns related to gravel road conditions within the county, specifically mentioning Breezy Corners and North Fork Hollow Road as needing improvement. Halverson indicated that he has not seen maintainers grading roads on a regular basis. Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour explained that all of Iowa is in the same situation and that more rock has already been applied than what typically happens in an average year.

The Supervisors moved into the annual review of the County’s ATV/UTV Ordinance. Dean Anderson of the Allamakee County ATV/UTV Club provided an overview of a survey conducted by the Iowa Off Road Association, which indicated that over 860 registered machines are in Allamakee County. Anderson indicated that the Allamakee County ATV/UTV Club has over 150 club members with 30% being from outside the county, which brings in tourism dollars to the area.

Anderson indicated that there have not been any major concerns from law enforcement and that the ATV/UTV Club has continued to be a community-conscious organization which has even conducted benefits for individuals with health issues. Anderson made a recommendation to extend the hours of operation in the ordinance to allow more time before sunrise and following sunset and that ATV/UTV usage should be expanded to allow travel on Donahue Road and State Forest Road traveling through Yellow River State Forest, which is currently not allowed.

Reinke advised that lodging providers have indicated that they are receiving calls related to ATV/UTV usage and trails. Beau Bennett with the ATV/UTV Club discussed that approximately 3,000 signatures have been added to a petition to allow ATV/UTV usage within the Yellow River Forest State Park. Board Chairperson Larry Schellhammer and the ATV/UTV Club members present discussed that mainly UTVs are used by those involved in rides coordinated by the club, rather than ATVs.

SPF-SIG Coordinator Maxine Grotegut with Allamakee Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) provided an update on the Iowa Partnerships for Success Grant, which she indicated will be ending as of September 28 this year. Grotegut provided details about activities associated with this grant including various substance abuse advertising involving posters, popcorn bags, school newspapers, commercials at movie theaters and social host specific advertising in newspapers and on radio. Grotegut discussed positive trends for the county in compliance checks and substance use survey results showing that Allamakee County is now close to state averages.

John Roe, Head of Maintenance at the Allamakee County Courthouse, discussed the removal of old ceiling-mounted air conditioning units at the County Courthouse, indicating that a removal cost estimate of $700-$800 per unit was provided by a contractor. Roe indicated that a lift would be required for this work rather than using ladders, with some uncertainty related to the ceiling surface area once the air conditioning units are removed with cosmetic issues and spaces requiring patching or fill. Schellhammer and Supervisors Dan Byrnes and Dennis Koenig were in agreement to seek a bid for the removal of four of those air conditioning units to use as a guideline in pursuing future bids for any remaining units in the building due to not all units being uniform.

Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer discussed changes in legislation requiring the use of an Official County Seal on election ballots and that a resolution by the Supervisors is a requirement. The Supervisors approved the Resolution adopting the Official County Seal.

Allamakee County Sheriff Clark Mellick discussed the next agenda item involving vehicle bids for a Sheriff’s Department patrol vehicle. Mellick indicated that a 2011 Dodge Charger would be a trade-in for a 2019 pick-up truck with two bids received, including trade-in, from Karl’s Chevrolet through R.W. Pladsen of Waukon at $29,816.70 and from Torkelson Motors of Waukon at $26,230.00. Mellick indicated that the Sheriff’s Department pick-up trucks have held up better than squad cars with the county’s rural terrain being a factor. The Supervisors approved the Sheriff’s Department’s purchase of a 2019 Dodge Ram pick-up truck through Torkelson Motors to come out of the next fiscal-year budget.

Ridenour provided a recommendation of July 1 at 10 a.m. as the letting date for concrete pavement patching, which was approved by the Supervisors.

Under Department Head Updates, Roe indicated that the mechanism for a handicapped accessible door opener is need of replacement, which the Supervisors agreed should move forward with the estimate provided by a contractor. Roe discussed that a potential gas leak was investigated at the courthouse over the weekend and was determined to not be a gas leak.

Mellick discussed working with E911 Director Chris Fee relating to getting signage out for bid. Mellick provided an update on dog impound contracts and that work continues on updating death investigation protocols.

Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker discussed the Big Four Fair in Postville, which takes place this weekend, with the Allamakee County Fair coming up in July. Snitker also discussed recent weather conditions.

Ridenour provided a recap of the ATV/UTV Ordinance discussion that took place earlier in the meeting and further discussed some related requests. Ridenour and Schellhammer discussed dust control, with Ridenour indicating that gravel roads are smoothed or rock is applied prior to a contractor’s dust control application. Ridenour discussed the process of handling information requests and briefly discussed information provided by the Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC) relating to proposed legislation.

Beyer provided an update on the process of moving back into the County Auditor’s Office in the courthouse following the installation of new carpeting with a redesigned cubicle layout. Beyer indicated that she will be attending a training session in Ames Thursday, June 13.

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