Supervisors approve compensation increases recommended by Compensation Board; Courthouse access for the public only available through south entrance

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, March 23 to address a full agenda of items including the Public Hearing for the proposed Fiscal-Year 2021 Allamakee County Budget, setting the level of County support for libraries and the approval of compensation increases for elected officials. There was no Public Comment.

The Public Hearing for the proposed Fiscal-Year 2021 Allamakee County Budget was opened with Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer indicating that no comments have been received. Beyer and Chairperson Larry Schellhammer each briefly commented on the proposed budget with both indicating that the budget process went well. The Public Hearing was closed.

The Supervisors moved into the consideration of adopting the Resolution approving compensation increases for elected officials. Supervisor Dan Byrnes summarized the Resolution by indicating that the Compensation Board has recommended an increase of three percent for all elected officials plus $1,500 in compensation. Byrnes further explained that the Supervisors are recommending the salary adjustments for elected officials to receive a three-percent increase plus an increase of $1,500 with the exception of the Board of Supervisors to receive no increase. The Supervisors approved the Resolution as presented.

The consideration of salary and wage increases for other department heads and non-union employees was next addressed. Byrnes provided a recommendation for a three-percent increase for all non-elected department heads and non-union employees with an additional one percent of the Treasurer’s salary for Treasurer’s Deputies, an additional one percent of Recorder’s salary for Second Deputy Karen Mathis and approval of the Conservation Board’s recommendation for all Conservation staff. The recommendation was approved.

The Supervisors moved into the consideration of setting the cents per thousand County support for libraries and the approval of Fiscal-Year 2021 library contracts. Supervisor Dennis Koenig discussed that the Supervisors are recommending 17.5 cents per thousand with an additional $350 of support per library for total library funding at $133,946. The cents per thousand in County support for libraries and the Fiscal-Year 2021 library contracts were approved.

The consideration of adopting the Resolution approving Fiscal-Year 2021 Budget and Certification of Taxes was next addressed. Byrnes read aloud the Resolution with the matter being approved. Beyer provided a recommendation to set the wage for part-time Primary Election help at $10 per hour, which was then approved by the Supervisors.

The Supervisors discussed allowing virtual private network (VPN) access for Treasurer’s Office staff to work from home, if necessary, during the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) pandemic. Beyer, Allamakee County Recorder Deb Winke and Allamakee County Sheriff Clark Mellick provided feedback on this matter. Security concerns were discussed relating to the use of employees’ personal computers and laptops with County laptops being a better option from a security standpoint in working from home using a VPN. Byrnes motioned to allow VPN access for staff to work from home only if using a County computer or laptop, which was approved.

The Certificates of Adjustment were reviewed and approved by the Supervisors. The Manure Management Plan Update for Devin Humpal Site #1 was accepted and placed on file. Allamakee County Zoning Administrator Tom Blake provided an overview of the Bruce C. and Debra K. Kubitz plat request and the Joseph C. and Carol A. Stammeyer and Daric Wayne and Lacey Jo Steiber plat request. Both requests were individually reviewed and approved by the Supervisors.

The Supervisors opted to take no action relating to setting a date and time for the next department head meeting. Moving into Department Head Updates, Allamakee County Environmental Health Director Laurie Moody discussed protocols in place for taking water samples and that tattoo parlor inspections will cease following Governor Kim Reynolds’ executive order closing salons, spas and tattoo parlors as of 10 p.m. March 22 through March 31 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mellick discussed emergency protocols and that the Sheriff’s Department website is being updated with links for various information and resources. Mellick explained that forms will be available and can be e-mailed rather than delivered in person or by postal mail.

Winke advised that the electronic submission of documents is being encouraged and that the use of a drop-box outside the Recorder’s Office is working well. Winke discussed the availability of plats with surveyors needing access to plat books with this information not yet available online.

Options for public access to the courthouse were discussed with the south entrance being the only access point, other doors being locked and that a County employee would be necessary to escort the public beyond the Supervisors’ Board Room to the appropriate office. Schellhammer indicated that he would be making a statement on local radio relating to the public use of the south entrance only with an escort by a County employee being necessary to access the Clerk of Court or County offices within the building.

Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour provided an update relating to the letting process for three projects and that contractors are being encouraged to use postal mail in submitting bids. Ridenour advised that there are two open positions in the Secondary Roads Department. Ridenour discussed precautions relating to the coronavirus and that he has received information from Attorney John Anderson relating to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which goes into effect April 2 and covers new laws specific to paid sick leave and the expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), among other matters. Ridenour reported that road embargoes are being put in place today (Monday).

Blake discussed flood plain mapping, payment processing and ongoing work relating to nuisance properties and non-compliance issues. Beyer discussed options relating to the online streaming of Board of Supervisors meetings and policies relating to employees working from home.
John Roe, Head of Maintenance at the County Courthouse, discussed delays relating to the ordering of supplies. Koenig indicated that the next County Social Services (CSS) meeting will be conducted online. Prior to adjournment, the Supervisors discussed documentation that will be necessary for FEMA reimbursement for COVID-19 supplies.

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