Supervisors discuss bids for County Farm, agree to interview bidders for cropland

by Bob Beach

During public comment time preceding the regular meeting of the Allamakee County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, October 21, Lynn Stock asked the Board to consider whether leasing the cropland at the County Farm to the highest bidder is the best way to conserve the land for future generations, noting that renters willing to engage in conservation practices would ultimately provide a better value to the County than just the rent paid for use of the land.
Chairman Larry Schellhammer agreed that the Board should interview prospective renters, just as it does prospective employees.
Supervisor Dennis Koenig said that the Natural Resources Conservation Service is in the process of developing a conservation plan to be referenced and attached to the rental agreement. He also said that bidders for the land should have an opportunity to withdraw their bids if they wish because they were not made aware beforehand that conservation practices would be required under the terms of the lease.
Supervisor Sherry Strub read the bids for a three-year lease of cropland at the County Farm as follows: Simplex Farms (Maury Regan), $376 per acre; Paul Regan, $350/acre; Dave Einck, $277/acre; Brian Stortz, $257/acre; Steve and Francis Stortz, $243/acre; Lynn Stock, $220/acre. The only bid for the 74 acres of pasture land at the County Farm was $8,500 per year for three years, submitted by Angus Farms of Waukon (George and Ed Bieber).
The Board voted to accept the bid for the pasture land, but agreed to take no action on the cropland bids until the conservation plan is finalized and the Board has a chance to interview the bidders.
The Board also received a single bid for snow removal at the courthouse from Byrnes Landscaping. The Board voted to accept the bid of $50 per hour for fiscal year 2015, $52/hr. for FY 2016, and $54/hr. for FY 2017 with an additional charge of $50 for each application of sand and salt.
In other business, Tessa Willie of Helping Services shared some facts about youth tobacco use and presented the Board with a proclamation declaring the week of November 16-22 to be Tobacco Awareness Month, in conjunction with the Great American Smokeout. The Board thanked Willie for the information and agreed to sign the proclamation. The Board also accepted and placed on file the Sheriff's quarterly report.