Supervisors accept retirement resignation of County Treasurer Lori Hesse, proclaim April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, April 5 to address a full agenda of items including the Proclamation for National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, setting a date and time for the Comprehensive Plan Public Hearing and consideration of purchasing heavy equipment for the Secondary Roads Department.

During Public Comment, Executive Director Val Reinke of Allamakee County Economic Development (ACED) discussed the Introduction to the Allamakee County Budget Process to be held virtually via Zoom and at the Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) Waukon Center Thursday, April 29. Reinke noted that those interested in attending will need to pre-register and that presenters will include Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer, Allamakee County Treasurer Lori Hesse and Allamakee County Assessor Ann Burckart.

Reinke also provided a recap of Easter-related events taking place over the weekend. She also discussed the Women’s Day 2021 event scheduled for Saturday, April 10 at the Northeast Iowa Wellness and Recreation Center in Postville to include vendors and information relating to offerings available at the center.

The Supervisors moved into the Proclamation for National Sexual Assault Awareness Month with Sexual Assault Advocate Sarah Wennes with the Riverview Center joining the meeting by phone. Wennes discussed the importance of recognizing April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month in creating greater awareness of sexual assault and its impact upon victims and their families, with Wennes also reading the proclamation aloud. The Supervisors approved to designate the month of April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The next matter addressed by the Supervisors involved the consideration of setting a date and time for a Comprehensive Plan Public Hearing. Allamakee County Planning and Zoning Administrative Assistant Mandy O’Neill noted that the Planning and Zoning Commission had reviewed the 2021 Comprehensive Plan in March. Chairperson Larry Schellhammer and Supervisors Dan Byrnes and Mark Reiser approved setting Monday, April 19 at 9:40 a.m. for this public hearing.

Manure Management Plan updates for Chestnut Farms, Hidden Valley Creek, Herman Farm LP, Kent Schultz #2 and Adam Grove were reviewed and then accepted and placed on file.

The Supervisors moved into the consideration of purchasing heavy equipment for the Secondary Roads Department with Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour providing introductions for salespersons Shawn Ramler of Martin Equipment - John Deere of Dubuque and Jared Bucksa of Ziegler CAT of Postville. Both salespersons provided an overview of their respective company’s motorgrader and excavator product lines. Ridenour discussed a variety of matters with the salespersons, including projected delivery times. Ridenour noted that all ten of the motorgraders in use by the County’s Secondary Roads Department are tandem drive with all wheel drive (AWD) providing advantages, which Ridenour suggested should be considered.

Ridenour advised that fuel consumption is comparable between John Deere and Caterpillar motorgraders. Ramler advised that Martin Equipment has waived mileage and travel time to defray costs associated with their location outside of the county. Ridenour provided a recommendation to purchase a 2021 CAT 140 AWD Motorgrader from Ziegler CAT at $195,750 (Selling price $325,750 less $130,000 trade-in) and a 2021 John Deere 250G Track Excavator from Martin Equipment at $220,921 (Selling price $285,921 less $65,000 trade-in), with that recommendation then being approved by the Supervisors.

Allamakee County Treasurer Lori Hesse addressed the next agenda item relating to a personnel matter. Hesse discussed her decision to retire as County Treasurer and read aloud her letter of resignation, as follows: “It is with very mixed feelings that I submit my letter of resignation as Allamakee County Treasurer effective Monday, May 31, 2021. It has been an honor to serve in this position for the past 26 years. I feel fortunate for what we have accomplished in our office and for the service we provide. Going forward, I have an excellent staff and they will continue to serve our county well. Due to health issues that I have had the past few years, I believe it is the right time for me to retire. This has continued to be reaffirmed as each month passes. Thank you for your support through the years. It has been appreciated and I wish you all the best.”

Schellhammer thanked Hesse for her many years of service to the County. Hesse advised that as of June 2021, Deputy Treasurer Jennifer O’Neill will have served the County for 17 years, with that experience preparing her to take the lead in the County Treasurer’s office. Schellhammer echoed similar comments relating to confidence in O’Neill in that leadership role.

Hesse is currently serving in her seventh term as Allamakee County Treasurer, a term up for election in 2022. Ultimately, the vacated County Treasurer’s seat would need to be filled either by appointment by the Board of Supervisors or through a special election process, with further discussion of filling that vacancy scheduled to be an agenda item for the April 12 Supervisors meeting.

The next matter, consideration of the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secondary Roads Budget and Five Year Program, was discussed by Ridenour. An April 15 annual submission date was discussed by Ridenour, who provided an overview of Secondary Roads Budget revenue and expenditures. Ridenour provided an overview of bridge projects scheduled in the Five Year Program, and also discussed expenses including roadway maintenance, road rock application and asphalt patching and resurfacing. The Supervisors approved the Secondary Roads  Budget as presented and the Secondary Roads Five Year Plan with the removal of Heytman Drive sealcoating from the current plan and with Four Corners Road grading and paving to be considered for addition to the plan in the future.

Prior to adjournment and as a Department Head update, Ridenour discussed that a rock letting date is set for Monday, April 12 and that work continues with a consultant relating to a resolution rating bridges including weight limit enforcement. Ridenour also reported that spot rock application began last week on County roads and will continue this week. He also advised that applications are being accepted for part-time summer positions.

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