Supervisors approve certification of Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding, agreement regarding IWD transition

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, August 10 to address a full agenda of items including the consideration of signing a grant application for the 2020 Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program, consideration of an outdoor display at the Allamakee County Historical Society Museum and consideration of an agreement relating to the restructuring of the current Iowa Workforce Development region.

During Public Comment, Executive Director Val Reinke of Allamakee County Economic Development (ACED) provided an overview of several area events including the Waukon Chamber’s “Shop ‘Til Ya Pop” punch card promotion taking place this week, and the WW Homestead Dairy car show and cruise, Country on the Creek Music Festival in Waterville and the Mags/Byrnes Memorial Ride all taking place this Saturday, August 15. Supervisor Dennis Koenig and Reinke also discussed the Swinging “Fore” our K-9 Best Ball Golf Tournament being held Saturday, August 15 at the Waukon Golf Course as a fundraiser for the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit. Reinke discussed the Governor’s Arts Award presented to Northeast Iowa RC&D for the Byways of Iowa Public Art Initiative, which was presented at the Virtual Iowa Arts Summit 2020.

Supervisor Dan Byrnes discussed the next agenda item relating to the Northeast Iowa Local Workforce Area Chief Elected Officials Shared Liability Agreement, advising that the Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) area is transitioning from a seven-county region to a 20-county region. Byrnes discussed efforts to retain the seven-county region with a decision being made two months ago to join the 20-county region. Byrnes said that the 28E agreement, also known as a shared liability agreement, has been reviewed by Allamakee County Attorney Anthony Gericke with Gericke recommending approval of the matter. Byrnes advised that the current intent is for the Workforce Development Office in Decorah to remain open. The agreement was approved by the Supervisors.

Assistant Allamakee County Attorney Jill Kistler addressed the next matter relating to the signing of a grant application for the 2020 Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program. Kistler said that a grant application for has been made for $67,400 in funding without a funding match requirement. Kistler added that the grant has been approved and is for the purpose of preventing, responding and dealing with the repercussions of COVID-19’s impact on the justice system.

Kistler advised of updates requested through the grant by the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Department relating to Toughbooks laptop computers, docking stations and wifi hotspots, all of which are for use in squad cars. Kistler also advised of other items requested by the Sheriff’s Department including audio and visual equipment used for handling meetings and depositions remotely. Kistler indicated that other law enforcement agencies within the county have requested items and have been included in this grant. The Supervisors approved to provide signatures and certification for the CESF grant.

The Supervisors moved into the consideration of County Conservation’s request to use the County credit card. Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer said that Conservation Director Jim Janett has advised that the Conservation Board has provided approval of this matter relating to the purchase of equipment for online posting of virtual field trips and virtual programs as the school year begins with COVID-19 precautions being observed. The Supervisors approved County Conservation’s use of the County credit card for the purchase of virtual field trip and program equipment.

Marcia Rush of the Allamakee County Historical Society Museum discussed the request for approval of an outdoor display on the north side of the County Courthouse Museum. Rush advised that a small rail car used for moving oar out of an iron mine in Allamakee County has been proposed for placement on the Museum grounds. Rush added that a canopy will be placed over the rail car with signage also to be installed. Byrnes advised that formal action is likely not required with the rail car being a display that can be moved and that Attorney Jim Garrett, President of the Historical Society, can review the matter which can be added to a future agenda for formal action if necessary.

Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker addressed the next matter relating to various COVID-19 items. Snitker said that school districts are receiving a 30-day supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) from state-level Emergency Management and Homeland Security with delivery of these items scheduled for next week with a system being put in place for future shipments. Snitker is planning to conduct a Zoom web-conferencing meeting with school districts prior to their reopening.

Snitker also discussed picking up additional PPE for the next wave of COVID-19 and storage of those items including disposable gowns, hand sanitizer, face shields and face masks. Snitker advised that nationally, the ordering of rubber gloves has become more difficult and expensive with the lower availability of raw materials needed in their manufacture.

Snitker also discussed Iowa’s Coronavirus Relief Fund with $125 million in funding being provided to include $100 million designated for city and county governments and $25 million designated for FEMA reimbursements. Snitker provided an overview of reimbursement guidelines and requirements with Allamakee County being eligible for $173,523.88 in funding based upon population.

Under Department Head Updates, Beyer reported that over 1,300 absentee ballot requests have been received for the general election thus far. Beyer said multiple sources have been supplying absentee ballot request forms by mail to the public.

Snitker discussed the development of an election incident response plan relating to natural disasters, civil disobedience and cyber security. As a reminder, Snitker advised that the U.S. National Weather Service La Crosse Area Doppler Radar will be offline August 17-28 (see Page 24 in this same edition) and recommended using the Davenport Area’s Doppler Radar during this time in providing weather forecast coverage for the local area. Snitker plans to attend a hazardous materials exercise scheduled for late August in Tama County.

Prior to adjournment, Waukon City Manager Gary Boden was in attendance to discuss ongoing work with Allamakee Clayton Electric Cooperative relating to grant funding for the installation of fiber optic cable in Waukon. Boden discussed the potential of two grants to bring in $1.1-1.3 million in grant funding for the development of fiber optic in Waukon which he indicated will benefit the Police Station, Robey Memorial Library, Veterans Memorial Hospital, City Hall and the business community. Boden said that the City of Waukon is excited about this project, with Schellhammer advising that the Supervisors have submitted a letter in support of the project and would like to be kept in the loop as the project moves forward.

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