Supervisors discuss a variety of matters including the Annual Weed Commissioner’s Report, the Restricted Areas Policy and Workers Compensation dividend

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, December 23 to address a full agenda of items including review of the Workers Compensation dividend, the Annual Weed Commissioner’s Report and discussion of the County’s First Amendment documents and Restricted Areas policy.

During Public Comment, Executive Director Val Reinke with Allamakee County Economic Development (ACED) discussed attending the 6 p.m. showing of The Foursome documentary Tuesday, December 17 at the Town Theater in Waukon. Reinke indicated that The Foursome showings were well attended with the documentary under consideration to be included in the Oneota Film Festival. Reinke discussed that over 40 individuals were in attendance at the “All In Allamakee” Comprehensive Plan meeting that took place December 17 at the Waukon Wellness Center with valuable discussion taking place and feedback being provided.

Jane Regan with Upper Iowa Insurance Services provided an overview of the Workers Compensation dividend and rate changes effective 1/1/20. Regan indicated that the county would be receiving a 31% dividend at $28,656.00 with six claims at $864 from active losses.

Weed Commissioner Laurie Moody provided an overview of the Annual Weed Commissioner Report and answered questions relating to specific weeds and the noxious weed list. The Annual Weed Commissioner Report was approved by the Supervisors. The appointment of Moody as 2020 Weed Commissioner was also approved.

The Supervisors moved into the consideration of setting reimbursement rates for County Social Services (CSS) occupancy expenses. County Auditor Denise Beyer indicated that Head of Maintenance John Roe has measured the office space occupied by CSS within the County Courthouse with 700 square feet occupied by CSS and 200 square feet occupied by Helping Services. Beyer indicated that CSS has requested this information to include a reimbursement rate established by the Supervisors to assist in CSS budgeting. The Supervisors discussed the need for more research in establishing a reimbursement rate with more information needed relating to reimbursement rates from other counties within the CSS region. No action was taken at this time.

Zoning Administrator Tom Blake presented information relating to plat requests with the first being for the Roger L. Strelow Estate. Blake indicated that the Planning and Zoning Commission has recommended that no action be taken at this time with additional information relating to easements being requested. Blake recommended that the Strelow Estate plat request be tabled with the Supervisors in agreement. Blake discussed the Haskell Howard Jr. and Donna Marie Bright plat request indicating that the Plat Review Board and Planning and Zoning Commission have recommended approval. The Supervisors approved the plat request. Blake addressed the James L. and Robert J. Tayek plat request, indicating that this matter involves the dividing of a parcel for an adjacent property owner to purchase a portion of land to allow for an improved access to their property. The Supervisors approved the request.

The Supervisors moved into discussion relating to the First Amendment documents and Restricted Areas policy. County Engineer Brian Ridenour indicated that this matter was discussed at a recent Six-County meeting and that a policy established by Winneshiek County was used as an example for discussion. Ridenour advised that First Amendment audits have been conducted by various groups. Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker advised using the Winneshiek policy as a template for Allamakee County and that signage will need to be put in place marking areas and portions of offices that are restricted to authorized personnel only. Snitker indicated that each office will need to identify these restricted areas for the policy and that signage will be purchased and posted. Supervisor Dan Byrnes indicated that the next step will involve review by County Attorney Anthony Gericke. County Sheriff Clark Mellick discussed video recording and photography restrictions in the courtroom. Snitker indicated that he will work with Beyer and Gericke relating to the restricted area signage and policy. Ridenour advised that consistent language be used with this signage to also include the County Engineer’s Office, Relief Office and the Driftless Education and Visitors Center’s office area.

Under Department Head Updates, Mellick discussed road conditions during the morning hours with some frost and slick roads.

Ridenour indicated that the Secondary Roads Department has been hauling sand, clearing brush and working on equipment maintenance. Ridenour discussed that two retirements have taken place in the last month with an assistant mechanic position to be advertised soon. Ridenour provided an update on the process involved with Department of Transportation (DOT) contracts and provided an update on legislation relating to bridge ratings.

Snitker discussed the five-day forecast and indicated that the next commission meeting will take place Monday, January 6, Recovery Workshops are scheduled for January 21-24 and that a tabletop exercise in Waterville is scheduled for Saturday, February 8 relating to a tornado simulation with a rural and urban impact.

Chairperson Larry Schellhammer briefly discussed the emergency medical technician (EMT) agenda item addressed at the December 16 Supervisors meeting by Cheryl Livingston of the Veterans Memorial Hospital (VMH) Ambulance Service. The Supervisors discussed that Livingston will be meeting with them at budget time to request tuition assistance be established by the county for EMT training.  Mellick discussed the need for additional EMTs with rural ambulance services struggling. Moody discussed the classification of emergency medical services (EMS) as a non-essential service with the need being essential similar to law enforcement and fire departments. Moody and Snitker discussed EMT training tuition being cost prohibitive for volunteers with tuition assistance being needed. Mellick discussed that Sheriff’s Department deputies are trained to control bleeding, perform CPR and in the use of a defibrillator for situations when they are first on the scene in medical emergencies before the arrival of EMTs.

Moody indicated that she will be attending training sessions relating to weeds in January and March and provided an update on grants including specifics on data input and calculations. Moody discussed the Iowa Well Study and specific testing being performed with rural Allamakee wells testing well.

Beyer discussed that valuations are being finished up for the 2020 budget process. Beyer indicated that there will be two Supervisors meetings next week to include the regular meeting Monday, December 30 and the organizational meeting Thursday, January 2 with budget meetings to begin Monday, January 6.

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