Supervisors discuss fall ATV ride, set public hearing for paving of portion of Columbus Road

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, August 15 to discuss a variety of items, including the Bluff Country ATV ride and the fiscal year 2017 budget amendment. The Board also received an update on the Partnership for Success grant.

During the Public Comments portion of the meeting, Allamakee County Conservation Director Jim Janett discussed that the Lansing Fish Days event held over the weekend was a success, saying the Conservation booth was very busy during the event. He said he has received positive comments and questions about when the Driftless Area Education and Visitors Center will be completed. Janett also discussed the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) bicycle ride for diabetes that was held this past weekend based out of La Crosse, WI and the ride's stop at the New Albin roadside park. He advised that there had been a water leak that required the water to be shut off to the roadside park, but that early Saturday morning water was turned on so the 350-plus bicycle riders could refill water bottles at the roadside park stop.

The Public Hearing for the Fiscal-Year 2017 Budget Amendment was opened. Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer discussed the contents of the amendment, which includes a transfer of funds within the Conservation Department and the recent raise for the Administrative Assistant for Environmental Health. The public hearing was closed and the Fiscal Year 2017 budget amendment was approved.

The consideration of approving roads to be used for the Bluff Country ATV Ride scheduled for this fall was discussed. Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour provided an update on the approval process. The ATV club has proposed the Bluff Country Ride take place Saturday, October 1. Ridenour said he has been in contact with Assistant District Engineer David Little of the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), who has conveyed that the ride permit cannot be approved with the crossing on State Highway 9. Ridenour further explained that Allamakee County does not have jurisdiction on Highway 9.

Dean Anderson with the Allamakee ATV/UTV Club said he has gotten approval from Waterville and Harpers Ferry for the ride. The waiver required for the ride has been reviewed by Allamakee County Attorney Jill Kistler and is similar to the waiver used last year. Allamakee County Sheriff Clark Mellick discussed the liability concerns and that approval from the DOT is necessary.

Anderson said that pursuing the current mapped route is preferable with the crossing of Highway 9. Regarding the denial from the DOT, Anderson commented, "It really throws a wrench in where we can go." Board Chairman Larry Schellhammer agreed that this is a good route with Mt. Hosmer as a key stop. Closing the highway temporarily for the event was discussed, with comparisons being made to parades and similar events. It was agreed more research and discussion needs to take place, with Anderson contacting Little and Kistler contacting the DOT. The issue was tabled until next week's meeting.

The Supervisors discussed rescinding motion 16.329 from their August 8, 2016 meeting to set a date and time for a public hearing on a budget amendment. Ridenour advised that the Breezy Corners paving project has been delayed and will be re-bid at a later time and that he has prepared a notice regarding the grading and paving of the mainline 24-foot width using Secondary Road funds on Columbus Road from the Great River Road (X52) southwesterly 709 feet by the Driftless Area Education and Visitors Center.

It was decided that a budget amendment was not necessary but a public hearing is advisable for the project to cover the paving point criteria and allow discussion for and against to be heard. Ridenour explained that additional funds are not needed and that one project is being delayed and one project is being added. A resolution will be prepared to modify the DOT secondary road program to that effect. A motion was approved to rescind the previous motion, and the public hearing was scheduled for September 6 at 9:40 a.m.

Maxine Grotegut, Iowa Partnership For Success (IPFS) Coordinator for Allamakee Substance Abuse Prevention, provided an update on the Partnership For Success grant. She said she has completed capacity workbooks containing information on the coalition, stakeholders and partners that are available to help with the grant, and she also completed a strategic plan that includes strategies to combat underage drinking in Allamakee County. She advised that three environmental strategies, one individual strategy and a media campaign are being used, with social host, compliance check and enforcement of administrative penalties being the three environmental strategies used.

Grotegut reported that the Iowa Use Survey indicates that underage persons are getting alcohol from parties, and that a stricter social host fine and recovery of costs involved in compensating law enforcement are being recommended. She said compliance checks have also revealed that underage persons are not getting alcohol from convenience stores or grocery stores, but from bars and taverns, with enforcement of administrative penalties involving a proposed County ordinance that would allow the County Attorney to fine or take away a bar's liquor license.

Grotegut said the media campaign involves posters, book covers, popcorn bags, school newspaper ads and movie theater ads that are currently being used in Prairie du Chien, WI, with Project Northland being the approved individual strategy. She said eighth grade students will be part of the program as a refresher course before their high school years, and that this is a program that educators can use from sixth grade to graduation to help prevent underage drinking.

Under Department Updates, Beyer discussed that sexual harassment training sessions will be held later this week. Ridenour discussed that there has been a lot of spraying brush, with wild parsnip being sprayed on a complaint basis. Ridenour also commented that a majority of people like what is being done with spraying and brush removal. He also advised that the Wexford Bridge should be open at the end of this current week, and that the John Deere facility tour will be rescheduled to allow all three Supervisors to be in attendance.