Supervisors reschedule public hearing regarding maximum levy for Fiscal Year 2024 County Budget and hear review of insurance

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, February 27 to address a full agenda of matters including the review of the County’s insurance policy and renewal, discussion of the Maximum Levy hearing date for the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) County Budget, and consideration of the Resolution to add a Secondary Road Project to the Construction Program. The meeting was called to order by Board Chairperson Dan Byrnes with Supervisors Mark Reiser and Dennis Keatley present.

During Public Comment, Carolyn Clark, a member of the Allamakee County Historical Society Board of Directors, noted that work has begun relating to the genealogy research area in the basement of the County Veterans Museum, the former Vet’s Club location.

Executive Director Val Reinke of Allamakee County Economic Development (ACED) discussed recent and upcoming events within the county including the February 26 open house at Lansing Office and Kitchen Works featuring Ukrainian cuisine, music and traditional apparel. Reinke noted the positive response from the public relating to this event. She also discussed ACED’s work with Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) in promoting the establishment of licensed and registered daycare businesses through a program offering a $5,000 incentive.

Allamakee County Zoning Administrator Stephanie Runkle advised that letters sent to property owners near the 2062 Lafayette Ridge Drive, Lansing dirt extraction site incorrectly listing the Public Hearing date as Wednesday, March 2 with that Public Hearing to take place Thursday, March 2 at 6 p.m. at the Driftless Area Education and Visitors Center, 1944 Columbus Road, Lansing. The extracted fill being discussed will go towards the filling and capping of the Alliant Energy ash ponds located at 2320 Power Plant Road, Lansing.

Assistant Allamakee County Attorney Jill Kistler addressed the next matter relating to consideration of Participation Agreements, Memorandum of Understanding/Memorandum of Agreement (MOU/MOA), Resolution and any other necessary action relating to Opioid Litigation settlements. Kistler noted that five new settlement agreements are coming through relating to the State of Iowa’s participation in national opioid litigation.

Per the Iowa Opioid MOU, funds from this litigation will be used for opioid abatement programs and activities. Kistler advised that not all of the settlement agreements or settlement amounts have been received with her recommendation at this time being to table the matter until the next Supervisors meeting for official action authorizing the County to execute these documents. The Supervisors agreed to table the matter until their Monday, March 6 meeting.

The Supervisors next reviewed plat requests with Runkle providing an overview of a request by Jacqueline L. Westby and a request by Micah L. and Kaitlyn Abrams. Both plats were approved by the Supervisors as presented.

Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer addressed the next matter relating to discussion of the Maximum Levy Public Hearing date for the Fiscal-Year 2024 (FY24) County Budget, consideration of changing the Public Hearing date, and republication if recalculated valuations/tax dollars/carryovers indicate necessity to change currently proposed levies. Byrnes, Keatley and Reiser discussed scheduling a meeting for Friday, March 3 to allow for budget work among other potential agenda items. Beyer provided a recommendation to reschedule the Maximum Levy Public Hearing for FY24 to Monday, March 27 at 9:40 a.m. with the Supervisors approving that recommendation.

The meeting moved into the County Insurance Review and Renewal with Jane Regan of Upper Iowa Insurance Services providing an overview of this agenda item. Regan and the Supervisors discussed various aspects of the County’s insurance policy including premiums, general liability, workers’ compensation, automotive, inland marine, public official, law enforcement official, umbrella coverage, among other policy specifics.

Historic buildings including the County Courthouse and the County Historical Society Museum were discussed in terms of exact replacement cost versus functional replacement cost. Regan agreed to follow up on a few matters including calculations for functional building replacement, deductible and premium options, and clarification on weather related damages and deductibles per occurrence. No action was taken relating to this informational matter.

Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour discussed the next matter relating to the Resolution to add a Secondary Road Project to the Construction Program. Ridenour and Byrnes discussed postponing the field review and project visits originally planned after the business portion of this meeting due to weather conditions.

Ridenour noted his recommendation to add a paving project to the Five-Year Construction Program to take advantage of an asphalt plant and availability in Waukon due to other projects later this year. Ridenour advised that a couple of small bridge projects could be switched to allow an additional asphalt project on Yellow River Drive from Old Stage Road to Forest Mills Road, a 4.157 mile section of asphalt with an estimate of $1.48 million to complete. Ridenour noted that the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) will review the project prior to being added to the Five-Year Construction Plan. Following discussion, the Resolution was approved.

Under Department Head Updates, Allamakee County Sheriff Clark Mellick discussed recent weather conditions impacting gravel roads. Mellick noted that there were some problems over the weekend in the Postville area relating to 911 access by landlines. He added that this has never occurred before and was likely a problem with a fiber optic line with calls intended to roll over to another public safety access point not being transferred to a live phone. Mellick advised that the problem has been corrected by the phone company.

Allamakee County Solid Waste Manager Dave Mooney noted that a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) three-year permit for the main Allamakee County Recycling site has been approved. Mooney added that employment applications are being accepted for a full-time position with that vacancy to be advertised in this newspaper.

Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker discussed ongoing hazard mitigation planning with a meeting relating to that project taking place Tuesday, February 28 and another meeting scheduled in March. Snitker noted the work relating to this project being performed by Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission (UERPC) with a final draft of the County’s Hazard Mitigation Plan to be submitted to FEMA for review in late March or early April.

Snitker noted that a recovery support tabletop exercise is scheduled for March 8 and that a statewide tornado drill is scheduled for March 29 with a County building tornado drill also planned for that date during Severe Weather Awareness Week. Snitker advised that the National Weather Service’s Flood Outlook will be made available Thursday, March 9 and that the Federal COVID-19 Disaster Declaration will be ending Thursday, May 11.

Ridenour noted that the scheduled 6-County Meeting was canceled last week and that he is waiting on an updated agenda. Ridenour discussed other upcoming meetings and road rock bidding.

Prior to adjournment, Beyer noted that work continues relating to recalculating valuations. She advised that preparations are ongoing for the Tuesday, March 7 Special Election in Postville relating to the Hotel/Motel Tax in addition to other miscellaneous work within the Auditor’s office.