Supervisors proclaim January as National Mentoring Month, hold annual reorganizational meeting as new calendar year gets underway

National Mentoring Month Proclamation ... The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors signed a proclamation at its Monday, January 3 regular meeting designating January as National Mentoring Month in Allamakee County. Pictured above at the proclamation signing are: Left to right - Front row: Helping Services for Youth and Families Mentoring intern Kaylee Martin, Helping Services for Youth and Families Mentoring Coordinators Kathy Schwartzhoff and Colinne McCann, Helping Services for Youth and Families Prevention Supervisor Jen Stolka; Back row: Allamakee County Board of Supervisors members Larry Schellhammer, Mark Reiser and Dan Byrnes, and Helping Services for Youth and Families Executive Director Carson Eggland. The Helping Services for Youth and Families Mentoring Program offers a caring adult role model for youth between the ages of six and 16. Standard photo by Joe Moses.

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors began 2022 with its annual reorganizational meeting in regular session Monday, January 3. Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer called the meeting to order with Larry Schellhammer being appointed Board of Supervisors Chairperson and Dan Byrnes being appointed Chairperson Pro-Tem for 2022 with Supervisor Mark Reiser also present at the meeting.

During Public Comment, Doug Mullen of rural Lansing discussed Hotel/Motel tax revenue from short-term rentals and questioned whether or not short-term rentals should be taxed the same as long-term rentals per the State of Iowa. Schellhammer clarified that the State of Iowa collects the Hotel/Motel Tax applied countywide to short-term rentals, advising that further clarification on the matter would be provided to Mullen.

Jack Knight of rural Waukon briefly discussed review of the Bluffland Protection District Ordinance and recommended that Mullen be part of that review process. Knight discussed that Allamakee County has a good reputation relating to governance with bipartisanship being involved in policy and decision making.

Executive Director Val Reinke with Allamakee County Economic Development (ACED) discussed statistics and information provided by Allamakee County Assessor Ann Burkart. Reinke made note of an increase in rural residential dwellings and she presented information from city clerks relating to the American Rescue Plan funding and its use by communities within the county.

The Supervisors moved into the next agenda item relating to setting board meeting days, start time and Public Comment time. The Supervisors approved Mondays at 9:30 a.m. as meeting days and start time, with 10 minutes to be designated for Public Comment.

The meeting moved into the appointment of Supervisors to various Boards, Committees and Commissions. The list of 2021 appointments was reviewed with Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker advising that a change in requirements relating to the Allamakee County Emergency Management Commission has since taken place requiring the appointment of a Supervisor to this commission with other Supervisors to serve as alternates. Schellhammer agreed to serve in this capacity with Byrnes and Reiser as alternates. The list of Board of Supervisors 2022 appointments was approved with this update.

The Standard Newspaper in Waukon and the Postville Herald were approved as Official Newspapers for Allamakee County. The Resolution setting the 2022 Mileage Rate was next discussed with the Supervisors approving to change the mileage rate from 40 cents to 50 cents per mile.

Setting 2022 bounty amounts for coyotes and gophers was next reviewed with the Supervisors approving $5 for coyotes and 50 cents per pair of gopher paws. Beyer clarified that it is requested that the front gopher paws be used for this bounty with 10 pair per clear plastic bag.

Snitker was next approved as an alternate voter for the Board of Supervisors relating to the Northeast Iowa Response Group. The appointment of Laurie Moody as 2022 County Weed Commissioner was also approved.

The Supervisors moved into the consideration of wages for Precinct Election Officials and Absentee Board for 2022. Beyer and the Supervisors discussed the matter, with the Supervisors approving wages for poll workers at $175 per day and the Chair at $215 per day with $15 per training session and the Absentee Board wage at $10 per hour with the Chair at $11 per hour at a minimum of two hours to be paid.

The meeting moved into discussion and consideration of adopting the Construction Evaluation, also known as the Master Matrix, the scoring system used by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in evaluating the siting of permitted confined animal feeding operations. The adoption of the Master Matrix for 2022 was approved.

The Resolution Authorizing the Engineer to Execute Certification of Final Completion of Work for all Farm-to-Market and Federal or State Aid Construction Projects was approved. The Manure Management Plan update from Saffron LLC was accepted and placed on file.

Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour addressed the next agenda item relating to the asphalt resurfacing bid for Prairie Drive. He advised that unit costs are confidential and provided a recommendation to move forward with the bid from River City Paving, a Division of Mathy Construction Company, at $887,853.38. Ridenour provided background on this project, which he indicated went through the letting process a year ago with River City Paving providing a bid at that time of $890,482.19 with the engineer’s estimate at $959,668.55. At the January 3, 2022 meeting, the $887,853.38 bid by River City Paving was approved. The Resolution approving the Prairie Drive contract and to designate the County Engineer to digitally execute the contract was approved.

The meeting moved into the consideration of appointments to Boards and Commissions. The following appointments were approved - Board of Health: Dr. Bill Withers and Jeanne Stein (three-year terms); County Conservation: Jesse Delaney (five-year term); Historic Preservation: Jim Magner and Mary Palmborg (three-year terms) and Eaton Coté (finishing term expiring end of 2022); Zoning Board of Adjustment: Bernard Pratte (five-year term).

The Third Reading of Ordinance LXI establishing voting precincts was approved. This matter relates to permanent plans to combine Precinct 3 Franklin/Post Townships and Precinct 4 City of Postville, with this combination having been in place as a temporary measure the last couple years with the combined population of these precincts being below the 3,500 threshold. The adoption of Ordinance LXI was approved as presented.

Beyer provided an overview of the 2021 Valuations for taxes payable in Fiscal-Year 2022/2023 Report with Assessor Ann Burkart providing additional feedback during this presentation.

Under Department Head updates, Allamakee County Attorney Anthony Gericke provided a recommendation to table a matter placed later on the meeting agenda relating to discussion of the 100-plus Employer Vaccine Mandate and discussion and consideration of the need for a County policy. Gericke recommended that the Iowa Department of Labor’s policy be adapted for Allamakee County with this agenda item to be added to the Monday, January 10 meeting agenda.

Gericke advised that Allamakee County may be below the 100-employee threshold with determinations yet to be made relating to employee and position status under the mandate. Gericke further explained that some full-time employees may be exempt due to work performed outdoors or alone in driving a vehicle or machinery. The Supervisors were in agreement to table the matter with further discussion and consideration to be added to the next meeting agenda.

Beyer provided an update relating to recent and ongoing work within the Auditor’s Office with valuations having been filed with the State of Iowa. She also noted that budget information will be provided to townships and beginning of the year work is currently taking place.

Snitker provided an update relating to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines relating to COVID-19 isolation and quarantine. Snitker noted that those who have tested positive must isolate for five days and, if asymptomatic, a return to work is possible with five days of face mask wearing.

Snitker further discussed that the December 15 windstorm experienced across Iowa has been upgraded to derecho status with over $9 million in damage being assessed and $5 million being the threshold for a federal disaster assistance request. Snitker advised that Allamakee County has not qualified to apply for disaster assistance with only isolated pockets of damage taking place in the county. Snitker said that 25 counties in Iowa did meet the damage criteria to apply for assistance.

Ridenour discussed dust control measures, research to be done relating to pricing and availability, and options available for gravel roads in addition to upcoming scheduled meetings.

Mentoring Coordinator Kathy Schwartzhoff with Helping Services for Youth and Families introduced the next matter relating to the National Mentoring Month Proclamation. Mentoring Coordinator Colinne McCann provided an overview of the organization’s work and statistics from the previous year in volunteerism, mentoring youth and substance abuse prevention. Schwartzhoff read aloud the proclamation designating January 2022 as National Mentoring Month in Allamakee County with the Supervisors approving the proclamation.

Executive Director Carson Eggland with Helping Services for Youth and Families discussed the organization’s Fiscal-Year 2023 funding request. Eggland discussed the organization’s work in mentoring youth, domestic violence programs, the family education program, in addition to other prevention services available. Eggland suggested a $1,500 funding request from the County. Drug Free Communities Project Coordinator Jen Stolka discussed collaborating in programs with Allamakee Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) and pursuing grant specific substance abuse initiatives in the county as well.