Supervisors approve opening all doors of the Allamakee County Courthouse for public access, will continue to offer meetings via web-conferencing means

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, June 8 to address a full agenda of items including the consideration of bids for concrete patching, the hiring of Secondary Roads Department employees and discussion of COVID-19 related items.

During Public Comment, Executive Director Val Reinke of Allamakee County Economic Development (ACED) provided an overview of upcoming events and discussed her online attendance June 4-5 at EntreFEST, a two-day conference dedicated to Iowa and Midwest entrepreneurship and innovation. Reinke indicated that Sweeney Real Estate has made a social media post relating to the sale of the Waukon Inn Restaurant with the new owners to utilize the existing equipment in their business.

Reinke and Board Chairperson Larry Schellhammer discussed that Lansing and Harpers Ferry have been busy with boating and activity on the water. Reinke advised that the steel and plexiglass sculpture art piece entitled “Crossroads” by artist Cara Briggs Farmer has been placed in the Plaza in downtown Waukon with the LED sign formerly in that location to be placed at another location yet to be determined. Reinke reported that Waukon Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Leddia Tallman is spending her first day in the office today (Monday) after working from home during the early stages of the pandemic. Reinke advised that next week various Dairy Days activities are planned.

The Supervisors reviewed Manure Management Plant updates from Kent McCormick Sites #1 and #2 and Regancrest Holstein, Inc., which were accepted and placed on file.

The Cost Advisory Services, Inc. three-year contract was discussed by Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer and the Supervisors. Beyer explained that Cost Advisory Services provides services relating to indirect cost recovery for the Department of Human Services (DHS). Following discussion, the Supervisors approved to sign the three-year contract with Cost Advisory Services, Inc.

The Supervisors moved into the consideration of the Quit Claim Deed for the remaining piece of the Garrett property donated to Allamakee County Conservation. Director Jim Janett provided an update relating to the property donation by the Francis Garrett family, clarifying that a legal description has since been added requiring review and approval with the Supervisors providing that approval at Monday’s meeting. This property donation was previously discussed at the October 28, 2019 Supervisors meeting with quit claim deeds being approved at the May 18, 2020 Supervisors meeting. Janett had previously discussed the Garrett family’s donation of approximately 25 acres of land near Lansing, including a wetland area, stream and trail.

Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour addressed the next agenda item relating to the consideration of bids for concrete patching. Bids received for full depth pavement patching were read aloud at the Monday, June 1 Supervisors meeting including Skyline Construction Inc. of Decorah at $141,258.00, Cedar Falls Construction Co. Inc. at $158,036.00 and Bacon Concrete LLC of Postville at $113,712.00. At the June 8 meeting, Ridenour indicated that the bids received were correct as read and provided a recommendation to proceed with Bacon Concrete LLC as low bidder. The Supervisors approved that recommendation.

Ridenour discussed the next agenda item relating to the hiring of Secondary Roads Department employees, advising that two full-time maintenance vacancies are the result of retirements and not new positions. Ridenour provided a recommendation to hire Garth Cooper as Maintenance Person 2 for Dorchester at $19.90 per hour with a start date of June 22. Ridenour also provided a recommendation to hire Tony Seitz as Maintenance Person 1 for Waterville at $19.75 per hour with a June 22 start date. Ridenour’s recommendations were individually approved by the Supervisors.

The Supervisors moved into discussion of COVID-19 related items. Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker advised that the June 3 initial reopening of the Allamakee County Courthouse went well with social distancing being practiced by the public. Snitker discussed the possibility of opening courthouse doors beyond the south entrance. Following discussion, the Supervisors approved to open all courthouse doors for public access, effective immediately, with 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to remain as hours of operation.

The continued use of Zoom web-conferencing for Supervisors meetings was discussed. Reinke shared that offering the web-conferencing option creates transparency and Snitker recommended that this option continue with COVID-19 health concerns and precautions being the new normal with a second wave being a potential for this fall. The Supervisors were in agreement to continue Zoom web-conferencing for meetings.

The Supervisors discussed the next Supervisors meeting scheduled to take place at the New Albin Public Library as part of the Supervisors’ annual schedule of library visits. Reinke indicated that New Albin would prefer to wait until later in the summer due to work beginning next week on the splashpad project. The Supervisors indicated that the New Albin Public Library visit could be postponed until late summer with two library visits in August being a possibility.

Under Department Head updates, Beyer provided an update relating to the Primary election which she indicated went well with three polling places. Ridenour provided on update relating to ongoing maintenance projects, noting that Bruening Rock Products is currently applying road rock and that new painted lines on pavement will be completed soon.

The Supervisors adjourned and convened later that same day as the Board of Canvassers to canvass the June 2 Primary election.

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