Supervisors award pair of projects, open bids for gravel road rock

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met in regular session Monday, April 3 to address a full agenda of matters including an appointment to the Board of Adjustment, consideration of bids for gravel road rock, and the Proclamation of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Allamakee County. The meeting was called to order by Board of Supervisors Chairperson Dan Byrnes with Supervisors Dennis Keatley and Mark Reiser present.

During Public Comment, Allamakee County Assessor Ann Burckart provided an update relating to valuations noting that assessment notices have been sent out to property owners (see Front Page article in this week’s edition of The Standard). Burckart explained that Iowa Code requires that assessments are to be at 100-percent of market value on residential and commercial property. She advised that if the assessments are between 95-percent to 105-percent of market value, no adjustments are necessary.

Burckart further noted that 2023 valuations in Allamakee County resulted in an average 34-percent increase for residential property this year, a 40-percent increase for commercial property and, based on a five-year productivity formula, a 21-percent increase for agricultural property was seen. Byrnes and Burckart clarified that the 2023 assessments will be used for next year’s taxes with these increases not translating into tax increases at those same percentages or levels.

Executive Director Val Reinke of Allamakee County Economic Development (ACED) recommended that the information clarifying the relationship between assessments and property taxes could be added to the Allamakee County website for reference by the public. Reinke noted that this may assist in clearing up misconceptions shared on social media by having a correct and consistent statement to share with the public. Burckart agreed with Reinke’s recommendation and further advised that she would be developing a statement for the Assessor’s office portion of the County website relating to this matter.

The meeting moved into the review of Manure Management Plan updates including Herman Family LP, Chestnut Farms, Mitchell Schultz, Red Ink Ranch, Gibbs Dairy LLC, Kiesau, Schultz #1, Kent Schultz #2, Hidden Valley Creek and Adam Grove. The updates were accepted and placed on file.

The meeting moved into the consideration of appointing a member to the Board of Adjustment. Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer noted that one application was received to fill this vacancy and remainder of the term ending December 31, 2025, which was vacated by Keatley upon his election to the County Board of Supervisors. Following review of the application received, Vicky Peterson was appointed to the Board of Adjustment.

The Supervisors next addressed the consideration of approving the use of the County credit card for the recurring annual Zoom renewal. Beyer advised that this annual charge for the Zoom web-conferencing application allowing for the online broadcast of Board of Supervisors meetings could be approved each year or approved once as a recurring expense.

Byrnes recommended that the expense be reviewed each year with the Supervisors then approving the one-time use of the County credit card for this expense.

The meeting moved into the consideration of setting a date and time for the Fiscal-Year 2023 (FY23) Allamakee County Budget Amendment. The Supervisors approved setting Monday, May 8 at 9:40 a.m. for this matter.

The Supervisors reviewed the list of allowances and disallowances of Family Farm Credits with Beyer providing a brief overview. This matter was then approved following that review.

The consideration of voiding warrants was next on the agenda. Beyer advised that this matter relates to checks over a year old requiring approval from the Board of Supervisors prior to Allamakee County Treasurer Jennifer O’Neill being authorized to void these warrants. The Supervisors approved the matter.

Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour addressed the next matter relating to the consideration of bids for gravel road rock. Ridenour noted that this is part of the annual contract letting process for 124,942 tons of rock for various gravel roads throughout the county. Bidding was divided into seven divisions including Division I: 15,348 Tons, Division II: 13,795 tons, Division III: 24,438 tons, Division IV: 21,870 tons, Division V: 17,805 tons, Division VI: 16,975 tons and Division VII: 14,711 tons. Reiser opened and read aloud the bids received from Bruening Rock Products of Decorah, Strong Rock and Gravel of Lansing, and Mielke’s Quarry of McGregor. The bids received include the following:

Bruening Rock: Division I: $12.439/ton Total: $190,913.77, Division II: $10.239/ton Total: $141,247.01, Division III: $10.239/ton Total: $250,220.68, Division IV: $12.379/ton Total: $270,728.73, Division V: $10.139/ton Total: $180,544.90, Division VI: $10.139/ton Total: $172,109.53 and Division VII: $11.379/ton Total: $182,107.41; Mielke’s Quarry: Division VI: $11.27/ton Total: $191,308.25; and Strong Rock and Gravel: Division III: $9.80/ton Total: $239,492.40 and Division VII: $10.50/ton Total: $154,465.50. Ridenour advised that he would review the bids before providing recommendations, with the Supervisors taking no action at this time.

The meeting moved into the consideration of a bid for the asphalt project on Yellow River Drive. At the March 27 Supervisors meeting, Reiser had opened and read aloud the bid of $1,271,583.94 from River City Paving, a division of Mathy Construction. At the April 3 Supervisors meeting, Ridenour advised that he has reviewed the bid from River City Paving, which he noted was correct as read, and he provided a recommendation to approve, with the Supervisors in agreement and the matter then being approved.

Ridenour also addressed the next matter relating to the consideration of the contract and bond for the English Bench Site #9 Watershed Project. He provided a recommendation to move forward with the low bid of $188,813 from Mahr Excavating to rebuild the dike at this location. The Supervisors approved that recommendation.

The meeting moved into the next matter relating to the Proclamation of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Sexual Assault Advocate Heather Bettmeng of the Riverview Center in Decorah discussed the importance of recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in creating greater awareness of sexual assault and its impact upon victims and families, with Bettmeng reading aloud the proclamation. The Supervisors approved the Proclamation of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Allamakee County.

The Supervisors tabled the next matter relating to the Health Insurance Committee recommendation for FY24 health insurance, with this matter to be addressed at next week’s meeting.

Under Department Head Updates, Ridenour discussed payment methods associated with bid bonds and the secure storage of these payments. Ridenour noted that a planned tour of road projects with the Supervisors was canceled last Friday due to concerns relating to weather conditions and that the Secondary Roads maintenance crew is back to the four 10-hour day work schedule Monday through Thursday.

Beyer noted ongoing work relating to the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Allamakee County Budget Amendment. Beyer also noted that Family Farmland and Ag claims were filed late last week. She also noted ongoing routine work in her office in addition to making note of an article in a publication from the National Association of Counties (NACo) relating to the Live Healthy Prescription, Health and Dental Savings Program in which member counties have the opportunity to lower health costs for underinsured and uninsured residents at no cost to the County, a program exclusively available to NACo member counties.

Ridenour discussed a multi-county Resolution relating to the State of Iowa’s proposed legislation that would eliminate local control of local option sales tax (LOST) revenue, a one-percent portion of the 7-percent Iowa sales tax. Ridenour advised that the County Engineers’ Association would prefer for this revenue to remain under local control and that Allamakee County could choose to be included in this Resolution. Ridenour and the Supervisors discussed setting a time later in the week to tour road projects within the county with Thursday being agreed upon. It was also discussed that a vote relating to the Resolution pertaining to local control of LOST revenue could be added to the Thursday special meeting agenda.

Prior to adjournment, the Supervisors held a work session to discuss matters relating to the Allamakee County Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) Budget.