Supervisors approve County Disaster Declaration, hear updates from last week's flooding and Public Safety Center project

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, August 29 to discuss a variety of issues, including a public hearing for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Construction Permit application for Regancrest Holsteins LLC., consideration of a County Disaster Declaration and the approval to submit the Iowa Partnerships for Success Year 3 continuation grant application. During the public comments portion of the meeting, there were no members of the public present.

The Public Hearing for Regancrest Holsteins LLC confinement was opened without any public comments and the construction permit application was approved. Regancrest will be constructing one new dairy cattle free-stall confinement building and a new dairy milking parlor at an existing dairy confinement facility.

The signing of a County Disaster Declaration in regard to the August 23-24 storms and flooding in the county was approved. Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker discussed that if the County were to meet the financial threshold, additional disaster relief funds could be made available by presidential declaration. Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour added that the Upper Iowa River near Dorchester experienced record flooding, advising that vegetation and corn cover have helped slow down the resulting flood water. Ridenour said some roads are still closed due to higher river levels.

The Manure Management Plan for Progressive Ag was accepted and placed on file by the Supervisors. The Letter of Support for Lansing being the ending location of RAGBRAI 2017 was also approved. Supervisor Dennis Koenig discussed some safety and liability concerns that have occurred in other counties during RAGBRAI.

Future Supervisor meeting location changes to libraries in Waterville and Waukon libraries were discussed. The motion to establish dates and locations was approved. The October 31 meeting has been scheduled for the Waterville Public Library and the December 5 meeting has been scheduled for the Robey Memorial Library in Waukon.

Re-appointing members of the Civil Service Commission was discussed by the Supervisors. This commission has various duties, which the Supervisors would like to better define before voting on the item. This measure was tabled, as more research is needed.

Allamakee Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) Director Jean Bossom addressed the Supervisors in regard to the approval to submit the Iowa Partnerships for Success Year 3 continuation grant application. This grant benefits the County's underage drinking prevention programs. The Supervisors approved the submission of the grant application.

Allamakee County Waste Management Director Dave Mooney was present to discuss the Solid Waste Contract Extension with Town & Country Sanitation, Inc. The agreement includes a five-year price-lock on hauling fees. Years six through ten would allow the County to bid out to other contractors if Town & Country were to raise its hauling charges. The Supervisors approved the contract extension with Town & Country Sanitation.

Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer discussed setting the date external boards and employees must adopt or sign off on the Employee Handbook, which was adopted May 16 of this year. December 1 was set as the date employees are required to either sign or acknowledge their reading of the handbook by refusing to sign.

Ridenour discussed the agenda item regarding whether non-union Engineer and Chief Deputy Sheriff staff continue to follow Union contracts or follow the Employee Handbook. Ridenour explained that his office staff continues to follow the 1997 resolution to follow Union contracts and recommended that employees continue to follow this resolution unless issues arise. Ridenour commented this practice was in place before his hiring.

The John Deere Training Tour in Dubuque was discussed. The Supervisors and Engineer Ridenour will be in attendance Tuesday, August 30. This tour was rescheduled from August 16.

John Hansen, President of Midwest Construction Consultants, provided a pay request for work at the Public Safety Center, submitting a request of $300,473.91, with $1,921,479.95 billed to date. Hansen and Ridenour discussed the advantages and disadvantages of concrete versus asphalt for the Public Safety Center parking lot. Hansen discussed using a six-inch concrete reinforced with rebar, which could be deducted for some cost savings. Ridenour discussed that asphalt is more flexible, but in a parking lot situation concrete is preferable, advising that, on highways, it is not a consideration, but petroleum products like gasoline and oil can eat into asphalt, which is an issue in a parking lot.

Hansen discussed that the roofing process on the Public Safety Center will begin next week, noting there will be three layers of insulation. Hansen said he hopes to be finished with underground conduit soon and then interior floor slabs can be poured. He further advised that detention metal doors have recently been delivered and that the propane tank will be delivered this week. Hansen recommends filling the tank in September for cost savings, rather than in October. He also noted that temporary heat will be needed for the indoor construction during the winter.

Hansen went on to say that the structure below the water tower at the Public Safety Center has been removed. He explained that a metal building will be constructed 25 feet or more from the water tower to replace this building and meet requirements.

Allamakee County Sheriff Clark Mellick provided an update for his office, discussing the recent flooding and rescues that took place. Mellick also advised that two new dispatchers were out of town last week for training.

Coordinator of Disability Services Kim Waters provided an update for County Social Services. Waters explained that she will be available to assist area residents as needed with paperwork relating to flood damage.

Ridenour provided an update for the Secondary Roads Department, advising that a five-foot diameter culvert serving the Hideaway Hills development was washed out, isolating more than 20 residents. He also advised that a tree fell on a County truck while it was traveling on a road, causing considerable damage to the truck. He said the two County employees in the accident were unharmed despite broken glass. Ridenour noted that the Secondary Roads Department is busy with flood repairs, with rock-slides and other damage in need of attention.

Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker discussed the Allamakee County flood damage and debris, advising that he has received 120 calls of reported damage thus far. Snitker thanked the County Engineer and County Sheriff for their help throughout the flooding and recovery process.

Auditor Beyer discussed that the filing for County candidates including Soil & Water Conservation, Township Trustees and Ag Extension is Wednesday, August 31, which will be followed by the ordering of ballots.