Secondary Road Workers Honored On Retirements
Although it wasn’t on their agenda, the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisorswere on hand Tuesday to honor two long-time employees of the Secondary Road Department upon their retirements. The honors were bestowed during a noon lunch for the Secondary Road Department employees at the county shed in Emmetsburg.
Palo Alto County Engineer Joel Fantz presented certificates of appreciation to Darrell Reed and Nick Hoch at the event, as both will be retiring from the Secondary Road Department in the next few weeks.
“I could always rely on Darrell to get behind a project and get things done,” Fantz said in presenting Reed with his award for 20 years of service to the county and its residents. “We want you to know that you will be missed for your service and leadership and we thank you for all your good work for the residents of Palo Alto County.”
For Nick Hoch and his 23-year stint as mechanic at the county shed, Fantz noted there were many stories that could be told. “Having Nick in the shop all these years has been a real benefit to all the residents of the county,” Fantz noted. “Nick always enjoyed the challenge of getting a machine back up and running and you could always count on a job getting done once Nick started on it. It’s hard to say goodbye to such good people like Nick and Darrell, but we truly wish them well with our heartfelt thanks.”
During the regular board meeting, the supervisors approved plans for proposed repairs to the Kirby-Flynn Bridge, located in Nevada Township. The bridge, which was damaged by a fire several years ago, is slated to be repaired and limited to car and pickup traffic only. Estimates for the repairs total $190,000, and it is hoped that funding will be received from the federal government through a Harkin Grant.
“This estimate isn’t that bad, when you consider that a new bridge to replace it would be well over $1 million,” Fantz told the supervisors. “As part of this project, we will be using some recycled beams from other bridges that we have on hand in storage, which will amount to around $40,000.”
Fantz also informed the board that after a call from the Superintendent of Schools at Laurens-Marathon, a mile of gravel on the east side of Rush Lake, 370 Avenue, between 480 and 490 Streets, would be changed to a “No Snow Removal Only When Severe” status to accommodate a bus route.
Fantz also presented a utility construction permit for Alliant Energy to perform reconstruction of overhead electrical lines along county road N60, the Depew Pavement, in sections 19, 20, 29, 30, 31 and 32 in Independence Township and sections five and six of Fairfield Township. The board granted approval to the permit.
The supervisors also met with representatives of the Palo Alto County Fair Association to learn about a gaming grant the fair would be applying for. According to Devona Perkins, Business Manager for the fair association, a project to construct a new permanent structure on the fairgrounds to replace the rented big-top tent is being proposed.
The board agreed to support the fair board’s project and introduced and approved a resolution of support on a unanimous vote. The fair board also submitted its budget request for the upcoming year, which was taken under advisement by the supervisors.
The supervisors also met with Tom Lee, Administrator of Palo Alto County Health Systems, and Peg McNally, Director of Community Health, who reported on activities and projects at the hospital.
According to Lee, a major undertaking at PACH for the coming year will be handling all billings for clinic services through the local hospital.
“Last year, $250,000 was paid to Mercy in Mason City to do our clinic billings,” Lee explained, “We felt we could do that work here with our own people so effective Feb. 1, we are taking over the billing work here. I think it will be a financial savings for us and I think we’ll be able to do it very well.”
In a final item of business. Palo Alto County Assessor Lois Naig informed the board that a representative of the Schneider Companies, the county’s choice for its GIS program, will meet with the supervisors on Tuesday, Dec. 30, to finalize the contractual arrangements for the project.