Supervisors hear from Volney area resident about highway safety following May 8 accident

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, May 15 to address a full agenda of items, including a Public Hearing for a Fiscal-Year 2017 budget amendment, consideration of bids for box culvert projects and setting a letting date for asphalt pavement maintenance projects. Board Chairperson Larry Schellhammer called the meeting to order.

During Public Comments, Dorie Bollman of 405 Bigfoot Road in the Volney area of rural Allamakee County, read aloud a letter written to the Supervisors regarding the May 8 Innovative Ag Services (IAS) fertilizer truck accident near the intersection of Highway X26 and Bigfoot Road. Bollman explained that the fertilizer truck was likely traveling above the speed limit resulting in the accident causing the truck and trailer to leave the road and flipping on its side with fertilizer being spilled, significant landscaping damage and an environmental impact to a nearby pond and property downhill.

Bollman discussed the history of accidents on this road and her previous communications with the County Engineer's office. Bollman recommended that better speed limit enforcement and signage improvements are needed. County Engineer Brian Ridenour further commented on the accident history on this road, the steep grade going into a curve and that additional 9% grade signs may be beneficial.

Later in the meeting, Ridenour further discussed the ten-year accident history of the location. He noted such things as speed being a factor, methods to better address the problem including additional 45 mph advisory speed plates on the hill, red flags, rumble strips on the road and shoulders, and the possibility of a safety study through the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT).

The Public Hearing for the Fiscal-Year 2017 budget amendment was opened without comment from the public and then closed. The Fiscal-Year 2017 budget amendment was adopted. Supervisor Dan Byrnes and County Auditor Denise Beyer briefly discussed that the $435,764 in the special projects fund accounts for donations and grants, and not tax funding, and the $17,000 listed for the County Sheriff is for prisoner room and board. The Fiscal-Year 2017 budget amendment appropriations resolution was approved.

The Quarterly Report from the Allamakee County Sheriff's Department was accepted and placed on file. The plat approval for the H. Barton and Shirley A. Klotzbach Revocable Trust was discussed by the Supervisors. In the absence of Allamakee County Zoning Administrator Tom Blake, Ridenour advised that the Plat Review Board has reviewed the matter and recommended approval. Ridenour indicated that Klotzbach is selling his farm but keeping 16 acres that have been surveyed. The Supervisors approved the plat request.

Ridenour also discussed the next agenda item involving the consideration of bids for box culvert projects at Four Mile Drive and Farm Drive. Ridenour advised that the two projects are tied together and that the lowest combination of the two projects should be considered. Supervisor Byrnes opened bids individually from Tschiggfrie Excavating of Dubuque, Skyline Construction of Decorah, Reilly Construction of Ossian, Brennan Construction of Lansing and Riehm Construction of Waukon. Ridenour advised that he will review the bids and provide a recommendation at the next Supervisors meeting.

Ridenour provided a recommendation of Carter Fuhrman as a temporary part-time employee for the Secondary Roads Department. Ridenour advised that, if approved, Fuhrman would start as a temporary part-time laborer May 16 at $10.50 per hour with no benefits. Ridenour indicated that this position will help recoup some of the labor hours lost due to the closer of the Luster Heights facility and the facility's work release program. The Supervisors approved the hiring of Fuhrman.

The consideration of pavement rehabilitation contract and bond was addressed by Ridenour, who discussed Cedar Falls Construction's bid of $126,938.40 for pavement rehabilitation involving pavement grinding and full depth patching on the Great River Road, which was previously approved by the Supervisors. The Supervisors reviewed the contract and bond and discussed the project with Ridenour. Schellhammer and Ridenour discussed the prioritization of this and other projects in the five-year plan, with only one project being moved up due to the Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI®). The contract and bond were approved.

Ridenour provided a recommendation of 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 30 as the letting date, which was approved by the Supervisors, for two projects involving asphalt overlay on Yellow River Drive and full-depth patching on Waterville Road. The employment agreement with the County Engineer was discussed by the Supervisors. Ridenour advised that Attorney Richard Zahasky of Anderson, Wilmarth, Van Der Maaten, Belay, Fretheim, Gipp & Zahasky Law Office has reviewed the current draft of his employment contract, which is for a three-year period involving a one-percent annual raise.

Byrnes questioned the five-month written notice requirement for resignation and termination and the unanimous vote requirement. Ridenour advised that changes will be made allowing a 30-day written notice and majority vote for termination and the updated contract will be reviewed by Zahasky. No action taken by the Supervisors.

Under Department Head Updates, Ridenour discussed that the Six-County Meeting agenda has been sent out. He also discussed flood repairs, concerns with a culvert extension and unstable soil being an issue on private property. Ridenour also touched on the subject of having conversations with Director Larry Weber at the Iowa Flood Center and the possibility of doing flood and water flow modeling, and he also briefly discussed the upcoming Policy Board meeting and updates to the ATV/UTV Ordinance. Beyer discussed a payroll procedure change and the likely duration of a staff member's medical leave not requiring a temporary replacement.

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