Supervisors approve ATV ride route on secondary roads during regular session held in New Albin

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, August 22 at the New Albin Public Library, its first meeting of a proposed plan to meet at all public library locations within the county. The meeting agenda included several items including plat approvals, consideration of approving roads to be used for the fall ATV Club ride and a discussion of County credit card usage and policy.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, Executive Director with Main Street Lansing Craig White addressed the Supervisors to discuss Lansing's interest in being the final stop for RAGBRAI 2017. He said the 2017 route is still under consideration by RAGBRAI with either a very northern route or southern route being likely. The City of Lansing has approved applying for the final stop designation and would like to have the Supervisors' support in either the form of a resolution or a letter. After some discussion, the Supervisors decided that a letter of support will be created expressing the County's interest in hosting RAGBRAI with Lansing as an end point.

New Albin Library Board President Lisa Fruechte provided a brief tour of the library. Fruechte discussed improvements that have been made in recent years including handicapped accessible restrooms and widened doors. The New Albin City Council Chambers is part of the building that houses the library in the Municipal Building. The library has a book club, computers and wi-fi access. Fruechte added that the New Albin Library hosts three to four classes a month of varying interest. Currently, there is a director with two aides who work in the library. Fruechte estimates that 60% of the library's patrons are from outside of New Albin, with the other 40% of patrons from within city limits.

The Manure Management Plan update from Mike Klinge was accepted and placed on file. Allamakee County Zoning Administrator Tom Blake presented plats to the Supervisors for approval. The first plat was for Larry, Cindy and Lynn Schellhammer, and Board Chairman Larry Schellhammer abstained from voting on this measure to prevent a conflict of interest. The Michael S. and Natalie K. Stallman plat and the Delores Rober plat were also presented to the Supervisors. All three plats were approved.

Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour explained that Steve Iverson has served the County for close to 40 years in the Secondary Roads Department and that November 11 will be Iverson's last day with the County before he retires. The Supervisors acknowledged Iverson's resignation.

The Supervisors discussed approving roads to be used for the fall ATV Club ride. Ridenour discussed that the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is unable to approve the crossing of ATVs on Highway 9, which would be necessary in Lansing with the route as proposed by the ATV Club to reach Mt. Hosmer. It was discussed that if the County were to approve the route with crossing Highway 9, this may present a conflict for the Allamakee County Sheriff.

Supervisor Dan Byrnes suggested that feedback from the County Attorney and County Sheriff are needed since approval of the route on secondary roads does not connect legally. Ridenour commented that this issue has come up in other counties and will likely be addressed in the next legislative session. Byrnes suggested closing the road for 15 minutes could be an option, like a parade route, to allow ATV crossing.

White of Main Street Lansing added that the City of Lansing has approved the ATV ride and plans have been discussed to have volunteers assist with directing traffic. The Supervisors approved the fall ATV Club route on secondary roads. A parade permit or other approval will be necessary for crossing Highway 9 and to finalize the entire route.

The date and time for a Department Head meeting was discussed. Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer said that she has spoken with Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker on this matter. A Workers Compensation meeting is currently scheduled for September 26 at 1 p.m., with a Department Head meeting to immediately follow suggested by Beyer and approved by the Supervisors.

The Board appointment policy was discussed by the Supervisors. Byrnes suggested changing text referring to re-appointments as "two consecutive terms" to simply read "consecutive terms". This would allow multiple terms for Board members who wish to continue to serve in their various capacities.

Allen Knox Associates and Nationwide retirement plan options were discussed. The Supervisors agreed to allow Nationwide to offer all available options to County employees.

Auditor Beyer also discussed a credit card usage policy with the Supervisors, explaining that there currently is no credit card policy in place. The matter recently has been discussed since there are some instances where a County employee may need to charge something on a personal credit card. Beyer provided an example where a Conservation Department employee needs an Adobe Creative Suite subscription for working on a website, which is a yearly commitment billed to a credit card on a monthly basis.

Beyer mentioned an option known as a purchase card, which is paid down to zero by individual departments on a monthly basis. This option could replace the current procedure of employees using their personal credit cards and being reimbursed. It was agreed that further discussion will take place at the upcoming Department Head meeting.

Ridenour provided an update for the Secondary Roads Department, explaining that he has been working with the DOT on bridge audits and inspections. He said the paving of Cherry Valley Road will start following Labor Day and that the John Deere facility tour has been rescheduled for August 30.

Chairman Schellhammer relayed some comments and questions from landowners and residents that may be affected during the paving of a secondary road. Ridenour went into some detail on the paving process, explaining that residents receive a letter from his office and arrangements can be made to accommodate impacted residents, if necessary. He said pavement may require three days to cure and that gravel is applied to driveways to help with any drop-off from new pavement.