Supervisors approve agreement with Iowa DOT for improvement project on Iowa River Drive among variety of other items during regular session

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, September 28 to address a variety of matters including the purchase of laptop computers for the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Department, the agreement with the Iowa Department of Transportation for the Iowa River Drive (A26) construction project and the review of several plat requests.

During Public Comment, Executive Director Val Reinke of Allamakee County Economic Development (ACED) discussed being part of an interview relating to travel and tourism within the county during the Midwest Travel Network’s Facebook live session, with footage from that interview currently on YouTube and soon to be added to ACED’s website. Reinke further discussed the focus of the interview as being about promoting travel and tourism in the county and the role travel writers and bloggers have in that process in attracting tourists to the county.

Reinke also discussed the Board of Supervisors candidate forum scheduled for later that same day and that it is Homecoming Week at the Eastern Allamakee Community School District. Reinke said that the Northeast Iowa Artists’ Studio Tour has been reimagined for this year and can be viewed online October 2-4. Reinke added that the Seventh Annual Wining with the Arts event will be taking place at Empty Nest Winery this weekend with the Northeast Iowa Farm Crawl continuing.

The Supervisors moved into the review of Manure Management Plan updates from W&M Ag LLC and Hwy 52 site, which were both accepted and placed on file.

Allamakee County Zoning Administrator Tom Blake provided an overview of three separate plat requests including Jerry and Machelle Bulman, Triple M Ridge Farm, and Randy L. and Teri A. Krueger. Blake advised that the Planning and Zoning Commission and Plat Review Board have recommended approval of each request with the Supervisors approving each of these requests individually.

Allamakee County Sheriff Clark Mellick addressed the next matter relating to the consideration of purchasing laptop computers. Mellick explained that COVID-19 relief funding was applied for countywide and granted, with some of that funding designated for the purchase of new mobile computers. Mellick discussed the need to make payment out of the General Basic fund in his budget with this payment to be reimbursed at a later time. Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer confirmed that this is the necessary process to allow for this reimbursement. The Supervisors approved the purchase of new mobile computers for the Sheriff’s Department.

Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour provided an overview of the next agenda item relating to the agreement with the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) for the Iowa River Drive (A26) construction project. Ridenour said that this Regional Planning Affiliation (RPA) project had been selected two years ago involving 6.3 miles of asphalt, shoulder grading and culvert extensions on A26, northeasterly towards New Albin from where the Lycurgus pavement ends. Ridenour advised that $2.8 million of federal swap funds have been approved by the RPA Policy Board for this project at a $4.1 million total cost with a bid letting planned for next spring and construction scheduled for next summer. The Supervisors approved the agreement with IDOT.

Ridenour also discussed a request from the County Engineer’s Office to use the County credit card, noting that this request relates to the online purchase of batteries and chargers for survey and GPS equipment for his staff at a cost $107.97. The Supervisors approved the use of the credit card for this purchase.

The Supervisors moved into the discussion of COVID-19 related items with Ridenour providing feedback relating to tax revenue shortfalls that are projected due to the COVID-19 pandemic and budgeting. Under Department Head Updates, Ridenour discussed washout damage following a recent rainfall with some blading and debris removal being necessary.

Allamakee County Recorder Deb Winke discussed the option of paying claims prior to September 30 that may be reimbursed under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, including record digitizing services.

Beyer advised that a drop box has been installed near the south entrance of the courthouse for absentee ballots with the Auditor’s Office to have the only key during election time. Beyer said that absentee ballots are projected to arrive tomorrow with those absentee ballots to be prepared for mailing to voters with October 5 to be the first date of these mailings to take place.

Supervisor Dennis Koenig provided an update relating to County Social Services. Prior to Adjournment, Attorney John Anderson, Chairperson Larry Schellhammer, Supervisors Dan Byrnes and Koenig briefly discussed options available relating to a collective bargaining discussion and then moved into closed session to discuss strategy for upcoming collective bargaining negotiations as authorized by Section 20.17(3) Code of Iowa and exempt from Chapter 21 requirements.

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