Board of Supervisors gives authorization to seek bids for preliminary design plans for proposed jail

by Bob Beach

During the regular meeting of the Allamakee County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, June 17 John Ellingson, Chairman of the Allamakee Public Safety Center Committee, asked for the Board's permission to request proposals from architects for preliminary design plans for a new jail and public safety center to be constructed within Allamakee County. Ellingson said that the cost to develop the plans should be between $8,000 and $12,000 and that the cost to construct a new facility has been estimated at $4.5 million.
Ellingson told the Board that a site for the new facility has not yet been determined, adding that while no sites have been ruled out yet, constructing the new facility on the grounds of the current Allamakee County Courthouse have been deemed as "problematic." He told the Board that the Committee would appreciate input from the Board with regard to acquiring property for the new facility through purchase or condemnation proceedings versus the demolition of the existing Makee Manor building north of Waukon. The Board authorized Midwest Construction Consultants to seek bids for the preliminary plans. Supervisor Sherry Strub thanked the Committee for all of its work through the initial stages of the planning process for the proposed new jail and safety center.
The Board also opened bids for the paving of Prairie Drive west of Waukon, having previously rejected the only bid received for the project. Concrete Foundations of New Hampton (a subsidiary of Croell Concrete) was again the only bidder on the project, having reduced its bid to $950,996.63 from the previous bid of approximately $1,026,000. Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour will review the bid before making a recommendation to the Board.
Allamakee County Veterans Affairs Director Heather Homewood informed the Board of a vacancy on the Veterans Affairs Commission due to the passing of long-time member Bob Peters of Lansing. She said that she would post notice of the vacancy for a term that will expire in 2015. Homewood also informed the Board that Jean Brink's term on the Commission is set to expire. The Board voted to re-appoint Brink to the Commission.
The Board also met in closed session with Allamakee County Attorney Jill Kistler for further discussion regarding a 2011 allegation of an open meetings violation by the Board of Supervisors. After returning to open session, the Board affirmed its vote to settle the case for $1,500. Board of Supervisors Chairman Larry Schellhammer and Supervisor Strub said that the settlement was the cheapest way to bring the case to a close. Though the Board had previously voted to approve the settlement, Kistler said that she wanted to clarify that the settlement does not include any admission of wrongdoing. Supervisor Dennis Koenig voted against the settlement, as he had done previously.
The Board also accepted the resignation of Head Custodian Mike Gallagher, effective in July. Gallagher will return to work on a part-time basis in August after enjoying a well-earned vacation.

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