Supervisors sign Resolution in support of Local Option Sales Tax, set public hearing for Master Matrix construction permit and approve rock bids for County gravel roads at pair of meetings held this past week

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors met twice within less than a week’s time this past week with a special session Thursday, April 6 and a regular session Monday, April 10. Coverage of both meetings appears below.

The Thursday, April 6 special meeting was called to order by Board of Supervisors Chairperson Dan Byrnes with Supervisors Mark Reiser and Dennis Keatley present.

The meeting moved into the discussion and consideration of signing the Resolution regarding Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) Legislation/Senate File 550 (SF550). This matter relates to the Iowa Senate’s proposed legislation that, if passed, will allow the State of Iowa to control the LOST portion of the 7-percent State sales tax, with that tax currently set at a 1-percent LOST under County control and 6-percent sales tax under State control. This proposed legislation had been previously discussed by the Supervisors with Byrnes having submitted a Letter to the Editor to The Standard, published on page 13 of the Wednesday, March 22, 2023 edition, in which he addressed concerns relating to this proposed legislation which would eliminate LOST while increasing State sales tax to 7-percent with the State of Iowa determining the use of that additional 1-percent sales tax.

At the March 27 Supervisors Meeting, Byrnes discussed the impact of LOST, noting that close to $1 million is raised and distributed as 40-percent to townships to help fund services including fire and ambulance, 30-percent for rural services including law enforcement, and 30-percent for secondary roads. In addition, Byrnes noted at that March 27 meeting that the State’s rationale may be to fund a trust fund relating to natural resources and that the State of Iowa may provide some funding through backfill in support of the county-level needs currently supported by LOST, but the State’s backfill would likely result in a reduction in funding for the County.

At the April 10 Supervisors meeting, Reiser read aloud a portion of the Resolution under consideration stating, “The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors would like to express their support of the current Local Option Sales Tax. The current law best represents the interests of the voters and furthers the reduction of property taxes which is a common goal of the County and the Iowa Legislature. The Board of Supervisors unanimously supports the Iowa Water and Land Legacy (IWLL) Trust Fund. However, SF550 as currently written would not only strip the County of control of LOST revenues, it would effectively disregard the will of voters.”

Following discussion, the Supervisors approved the Resolution in opposition to Senate File 550 and in support of the current Local Option Sales Tax (LOST). Following that approval the Resolution was then signed by all three Supervisors.

The meeting moved into the discussion and consideration of setting a date and time for the Public Hearing relating to the Master Matrix Construction Permit application for Gibbs Dairy. Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer provided some background on this matter relating to plans by Gibbs Dairy to construct an addition to its existing confined animal feeding operation (CAFO).

Beyer noted that a public hearing is optional and that if that hearing were to be scheduled, she recommends setting that time and date as 10:15 a.m. Monday, April 17. A public notice relating to this hearing is published on Page 18 of this week’s edition of The Standard. Byrnes recommended moving forward with a public hearing while advising that this will be a good opportunity for public feedback with Allamakee County Environmental Health Director Laurie Moody to also provide feedback relating to this proposed construction. The Supervisors approved setting the Public Hearing for Monday, April 17 at 10:15 a.m.

Prior to adjournment, the Supervisors and Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour viewed a map of road projects that are part of the five-year plan before traveling to view several of these road projects throughout the county.

The Monday, April 10 regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors was called to order by Board Chairperson Dan Byrnes with Supervisors Mark Reiser and Dennis Keatley present. There was no Public Comment during the time allotted for that agenda item.

The meeting moved into the consideration of bids for gravel road rock with Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour providing an overview of the matter. Ridenour referred to a print-out of the bidding tabulations noting a correction to the calculation for Bruening Rock’s Division VII bid from $182,107.41 to $167,396.47, but that change not affecting the bidding results. At the Monday, April 3 Supervisors meeting, bids were opened relating to the annual contract letting process for 124,942 tons of rock for various gravel roads throughout the county.

At the April 10 Supervisors Meeting, Ridenour provided a recommendation to approve the low bids received including Bruening Rock Products of Decorah to include Division I: $12.439/ton - Total: $190,913.77 (15,348 Tons), Division II: $10.239/ton - Total: $141,247.01 (13,795 Tons), Division IV: $12.379/ton - Total: $270,728.73 (21,870 Tons), Division V: $10.139/ton - Total: $180,524.90 (17,805 Tons), Division VI: $10.139/ton - Total: $172,109.53 (16,975 Tons); and Strong Rock & Gravel of Lansing for Division III: $9.80/ton Total: $239,492.40 (24,438 Tons) and Division VII: $10.50/ton - Total: $154,465.50 (14,711 Tons). The Supervisors approved the low bids as recommended.

Ridenour also addressed the next matter relating to the consideration of the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secondary Road Construction Program and the Fiscal-Year 2024 (FY24) Budget. Ridenour provided an overview of estimated revenues and expenditures associated with the FY24 Secondary Road Department Budget and then reviewed the Five-Year Secondary Roads Construction Program by discussing several projects currently scheduled. Following discussion, the Supervisors approved the IDOT Secondary Road Construction Program and the FY24 Budget.

Prior to adjournment, the meeting moved into Department Head Updates. Ridenour noted that the hauling of coal from the Alliant Energy Lansing Power Plant is ongoing with an increase of truck traffic being noticeable. Beyer discussed staffing in the Auditor’s office with a few busy weeks ahead, and that work is ongoing relating to the certification of budgets.