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Drainage Proposal Prompts Hearing

By Staff | Oct 28, 2008

Palo Alto Count Supervisors looked over a proposed contract developed by the county’s drainage engineer during their Oct. 21 meeting. However, some questions about the contract prompted the board and the county engineer to make some changes to the contract.

Palo Alto County Engineer Joel Fantz brought the contract, drawn up by Drainage Engineer Don Etler, before the supervisors to discuss some concerns. The contract was the end result of an idea by the supervisors to have a contract form available to hire a contractor for drainage ditch repairs on an hourly basis when needed.

“Looking at this contract, it seems a little more complicated than what we were thinking,” Supervisor Keith Wirtz commented to open the discussion. “We just want an hourly rate for a machine and a mobilization cost, or else just a flat fee for mobilization.”

“I agree,” Fantz noted. “I’d like to get some input on this and look at this contract some more. I think one of the biggest issues is to define mobilization for this contract.”

Palo Alto County Auditor Gary Leonard agreed, pointing out, “I think you could just have a set charge, put it in the bid and just be done with it. This is a little complicated.”

“Figuring time in any contract is complicated,” Fantz agreed. “I think you could have a less-complicated timely response section in this document.”

With the questions still remaining on the proposed document, the board decided to continue study of the document and consider it at a later date.

In other action, Fantz presented the design plans for the N60 road reconstruction project to the supervisors for their signatures, so that they could be filed with the Iowa Department of Transportation for bids. Fantz noted that the estimates for construction of the project were right at $523,000 per half-mile.

“The bottom three miles of the project will be paid for through Federal Aid funds, and the top six miles will come from our Farm-to-Market funds,” said Fantz.

Fantz also reported that he is beginning to review applications for the mechanic’s position at the Emmetsburg shed currently held by Nick Hoch, who is retiring at the end of the year. It was also noted that Darrell Reed, Foreman at the Ayrshire maintenance shop, was also retiring at the end of the year. Under the Secondary Road Worker’s Contract, that vacancy will also be posted internally to allow current employees an opportunity to apply for the position.

The board met with Sheryl Rehm, representing the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office Employees’ Association, who presented the group’s initial salary proposal to the board for consideration. For the 2009-2010 Fiscal Year, the Association is requesting a raise of 5.8 percent, in line with the Social Security Administration’s recent announcement of 5.8 percent as a cost of living raise for retirees.

Rehm noted that proposals in neighboring counties included four percent in Pocahontas and Buena Vista Counties, three percent in Kossuth and five percent in Humboldt county for similar employees.

The proposal was acknowledged by the board, which now has 30 days to respond with a counter proposal to the association under collective bargaining rules.

The Supervisors were also advised of some personnel changes within the sheriff’s office.

Dispatch operator Rhannah Becknal had resigned from her position and part-time employee Larry Ackerman was hired as a full-time operator to fill the vacancy. Deb Rouse, a part-time jailer and custodian, was hired as a part-time dispatch operator to fill the position formerly held by Ackerman.

The board also met with Dave Girres, a landowner in Drainage District 7, regarding the replacement of old county tile that had been buried very shallow and was crushed over time because of the shallow depth. Monty Schany of Schany Construction presented a bid of $17.700 to replace the non-functioning tile with 2,360 feet of double-walled, perforated plastic 10″ tile, at a cost of $4.50 per foot for the tile and $3.00 per foot for installation.

The board set 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 10 as the time for a public hearing for landowners in that district to comment on the proposal.

The board also voted to cancel the board meeting set for Monday, Nov. 3, and set the date of Monday, Nov. 10 as the date for the board meeting, rather than on Veterans’ Day, Nov. 11.