Supervisors hold pair of regular sessions this past week due to Memorial Day holiday; Discuss former Rossville Presbyterian Church property, hear updates on paving of Makee Drive and from Driftless Center and Friends of Yellow River Forest

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Tuesday, May 28 following the Monday, May 27 closure of the Allamakee County Courthouse in observance of the Memorial Day holiday and met again in regular session within a week, Monday, June 3, at the New Albin Public Library as part of the Supervisors’ annual schedule of county library visits. Coverage of both meetings appears below.

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Tuesday, May 28 following the Monday, May 27 closure of the Allamakee County Courthouse in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. The Supervisors addressed a short meeting agenda including a plat approval and discussion of a lot and surrounding roads in Rossville.

During the time allotted for Public Comment, Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer discussed an email received from Brianne Wild of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Office with a request to conduct watershed inspections June 18 at 9 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. The Supervisors were in agreement that date would be acceptable with no official action necessary other than a public posting due to the involvement of the Supervisors.

Allamakee County Zoning Administrator Tom Blake addressed the next agenda item involving a plat request by Richard R. Shindoll. Blake presented an aerial map of Shindoll’s property and surrounding properties to the Supervisors and discussed Shindoll’s plans to sell a portion of his property to a neighboring landowner. The Supervisors approved the plat request.

The Supervisors moved into discussion of a property lot owned by Kent Stock in Rossville and surrounding roads. Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour provided an overview of the matter indicating that Stock has purchased the former Rossville Presbyterian Church property and structure and has made improvements including the construction of a shed. Ridenour indicated that a land survey has taken place with Stock discussing that when the property was purchased, the septic system was replaced.

Stock further discussed the road and intersection by the property with a curve that infringes upon the property line, and he expressed concerns of vehicles continuing to travel further onto the property, which could potentially damage the septic drainage field following the removal of trees along the road.

Stock indicated that his insurance company has advised that there may be liability concerns due to the curved road traveling upon the property.

Stock indicated that a shop or shed has been constructed for working on trucks for his business and that the church is being renovated as a living space. Ridenour advised that there are three options including doing nothing, vacating the portion of the property used by the road or straightening out the road at a minimal cost. Supervisor Dan Byrnes indicated that liability is likely not an issue for Stock due to the road being maintained by the County. Byrnes recommended that fencing or a safety barrier would prevent further intrusion onto the property.

Ridenour estimated that straightening the road would cost $2,400 for rock with the potential for some buy-in from Stock to assist in covering the cost of the project, with some blading being necessary without any engineering expense. Board Chairperson Larry Schellhammer and Byrnes indicated that the Supervisors may choose to view the road and property and have the matter placed on a meeting agenda for official action.

Under Department Head Updates, Ridenour discussed weather-related delays to the Makee Drive paving project and that progress continues on the A26 Bridge. Ridenour advised that work continues in maintenance and repair of gravel roads within the county and provided an overview of a letter received from the Iowa Limestone Producers Association detailing weather-related issues affecting county roads throughout Iowa. Ridenour also recommended adding review of the ATV/UTV Ordinance to the June 10 meeting agenda.

Blake discussed attending a conference in Ankeny Wednesday through Friday last week with a presentation by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) relating to flood plain mapping. Blake discussed wind turbine towers, a topic discussed at the conference, and provided an update on several communication tower-related matters.

Beyer advised that the Monday, June 3 Supervisors meeting will take place at the New Albin Public Library. Beyer also provided an update on the County Seal design, recommending a text-only design to minimize costs. Beyer discussed the temporary relocation of the County Auditor’s Office to the Supervisors Boardroom at the end of May/beginning of June, allowing for the replacement of carpet and tile in the Auditor’s Office. Beyer provided an overview of the layout changes that will be made in the Auditor’s Office.

The Supervisors approved the meeting minutes of May 28 and the meeting agenda for its Monday, June 3 regular session they were holding at the New Albin Public Library as they begin their annual tour of public libraries and communities within the county.

During Public Comment, Bob Hager of rural Waukon and co-owner of Upper Iowa Resort and Rental discussed riverbank and boat access damage resulting from high water levels on the Upper Iowa River. Hager indicated that it is important to repair and maintain canoe access landings to provide a good experience for local residents and tourists and to continue to promote river activity and access. Allamakee County Conservation Director Jim Janett and Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour discussed ongoing repairs and maintenance of boat and canoe landings.

The Supervisors reviewed Manure Management Updates from Kent McCormick Site I and II and Regancrest Holstein Inc., which were accepted and placed on file.

The Supervisors moved  on to the consideration of signing the Nyhart Service Agreement for the interim General Accounting Standards Board (GASB) 75 update, a service utilized in the County’s accounting and financial reporting procedure. The Supervisors approved to sign the Nyhart Service Agreement.

Board Chairman Larry Schellhammer and Supervisor Dan Byrnes addressed the next agenda item involving the discussion and consideration of an Official Allamakee County Seal, with both indicating that a seal has been developed to be included on election ballots moving forward to remain compliant with changing election regulations. The Official Allamakee County Seal was approved by the board.

Kelli Boylen with Friends of Yellow River State Forest provided an overview of the organization and its mission to enhance that forest and park area for public use while protecting the integrity of the flora, fauna, soil and water. Boylen indicated that the organization is a 501c3 non-profit with a seven-member board and with group membership approaching 100 members.

Boylen advised that the organization does not oversee management or develop policy, but rather is there to support the park in other ways. She indicated the Volunteer Day held May 4 had 35-40 volunteers resulting in the clean-up of 10 miles of road went well and that summer programming will take place for six Saturdays and will include bird identification, equine massage, outdoor photography, tree identification, outdoor cooking and fly fishing.

Boylen discussed the organization’s social media presence, which she encourages the public to follow as a way to stay informed of upcoming events and that a website may be developed in the future. Executive Director Val Reinke with Allamakee County Economic Development (ACED) discussed the Friends of Yellow River State Forest organization’s first meeting, which went well, and that ACED will be involved with the grant writing process when a project is decided upon in the future.

Under Department Head Updates, Janett indicated that it was a busy weekend at the Driftless Education and Visitors Center in Lansing and that there was a recent visit by Governor Kim Reynolds. Janett discussed the FEMA declaration and budgeting relating to various repair projects. Byrnes and Janett discussed estimates of the number of students that have toured the Driftless Education and Visitors Center and benefited from programming offsite, with Janett indicating that average number is higher than the previous year at this time.

Ridenour indicated that a roadside mowing laborer has started as of the Monday meeting date and that the mile of paving on Makee Drive has started as of this morning. He also provided an update on the County Road A26 Bridge project. Ridenour discussed the condition of gravel roads requiring an increased amount of rock application in comparison to the previous spring.

Payroll Deputy Janel Eglseder with the Allamakee County Auditor’s Office provided an update on the carpet installation currently taking place in the County Auditor’s Office.

Following adjournment of the meeting, Library Director Heather Abrahamzon of the New Albin Public Library discussed that Dan Wardell of Iowa Public Television’s (IPTV) Kids Clubhouse Adventures will be visiting the New Albin Public Library and Community Center Wednesday, June 19 as part of IPTV’s 2019 Reading Road Trip. Abrahamzon discussed ongoing work cataloging the library’s books into an online system, which is approximately 50% complete at this point.

Jessica Meyer and Alexie Grotegut of the New Albin Improvement League (NAIL) discussed the planning involved in the future splash pad project in New Albin and the potential location for the project. The Supervisors then toured various sites in New Albin including the City Shed/City Porch, City Meat Market, City Playground and Army Road Park.

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