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Limited Agenda For Supervisors

By Staff | Aug 21, 2008

Palo Alto County Supervisors had a limited agenda to deal with during their weekly meeting on Aug. 19. Reports from the County Engineer occupied the agenda of the brief meeting.

Engineer Joel Fantz reported to the board members on several routine items of business, starting with a utility construction permit for Iowa Telecom to construct an underground telephone line in Sections 28 and 33 of Rush Lake Township, along and underneath 500 Street. The board granted unanimous approval to the permit request.

“For informational purposes, we are sending out informational letters to landowners along the Ayrshire pavement, B-53, advising them that we will be looking to expand the right-of-way along that roadway to 65 feet from the center line for next year’s project,” Fantz noted. “This isn’t the actual acquisition letter, but just a reminder so that those folks can plan on not applying fertilizer and the like to those extra feet from the current Right-Of-Way line. This is just a heads-up so they’re aware of what is coming up.”

Fantz then briefed the supervisors on the negotiations for a renewal of a lease on a gravel pit in Clay County.

“Our current lease on the Evans Pit expires on Dec. 31 of 2008,” the engineer explained. “We have been visiting with Mr. Evans, and we have addressed some things in the lease, one being an increase to 55 cents per ton royalty on the gravel we mine from the pit, and that is agreeable to Mr. Evans.”

Fantz also noted that the Secondary Road Department had also come to an agreement to share the cost of maintenance on a small bridge that crosses a drainage ditch leading into the pit.

“In our talks, we agreed to split the cost of some needed repairs, a new piling and a beam, on this bridge, which we use,” Fantz noted. “We took some bids and got a bid of $8,000 from Nelson and Rock Construction, and what we’ll do is pay the bill for the work, and then withhold Mr. Evans’ share out of his royalties, which is his preference.”

Fantz pointed out that the Evans Pit is the only property outside the county that is leased, but that its geographic location, in the southwest corner, puts it in the best place to provide gravel in that corner of the county.

“Right now, we plan to go in and pull about 40,000 tons of gravel out of there this year, within the next three or four weeks,” Fantz noted. “We’ve been leasing this pit since the late 1970’s or early 1980’s and it’s worked out very well for us.”

“Have there ever been any thought to possibly purchasing it, rather than leasing it?” asked Supervisor Ed Noonan.

“We’ve looked at that, and in all honesty, I think its best if we’d stay with the lease option, rather than owning it and paying property taxes to Clay County,” Fantz answered.

With no further comments, Supervisor Ron Graettinger moved to enter into a new lease for the Evans Pit, with the new lease expiring Dec. 31, 2014. The motion was seconded and received unanimous approval of the board.

Fantz also reported that grouting work had been completed on several bridges and abutments sustaining some settling and scour damage, along with some rip-rap work near bridges to reduce scouring from high water levels. Grading work on the Depew pavement project has progressed rapidly, and pipe and culvert extension work is next on the agenda on that project.

As Fantz concluded his report, he was presented with a reimbursement check from Sacred Heart Parish in Ayrshire in the amount of $692 for the use of county dump trucks to haul away the debris from the demolition of the old Catholic School in Ayrshire.

In a final item of business, Auditor Gary Leonard presented a tax abatement request for Bruce Long of Ruthven who had been taxed for a grain bin located on leased land. However, the bin had been moved off the land earlier, but had been taxed after its removal. An abatement of $86 on the bin was approved without comment by the supervisors.