Supervisors Offer Support To Grant Suitors
Palo Alto County’s Supervisors heard a pair of budget requests for the upcoming fiscal year and adopted a resolution of support and gave verbal support to a pair of gaming grants during action at their Dec. 14 meeting. The board was also updated on the year’s activities of the Secondary Roads Department.
Representatives of the Palo Alto County Library Association met with the supervisors to discuss some of the activities and services offered by the five libraries in the county and also to make their budgetary request for the upcoming year. Nathan Clark, Librarian for the Emmetsburg and Ruthven Public Libraries, highlighted some of the activities and services offered by the two libraries, including an E-Book service, where patrons can go online to view animated children’s story books, called Tumble Books.
“We have phenomenal user statistics for the Tumble Books,” Clark told the board members. “We also continue to have fundraisers and will be applying for some gaming grants this year as well.”
Jenny Gambell, Librarian at the West Bend Public Library, reported that a web-based card catalog and checkout system is now being used in the facility. “It’s taking some getting used to, but it is a very helpful system. We are obtaining seven new laptop computers and are working on wireless access in the library to go with them.”
Nicole Harris, Librarian at the Graettinger Public Library, noted that opening the library on Saturday’s has been very successful and that an Open House at the facility drew 113 patrons in one hour. Several special events, including a teddy bear clinic, sponsored by the local ambulance service, proved to be so popular that it will be held again this coming March.
“We also had a very successful Summer reading program and had some special activities to go with it,” Harris reported. “We are developing some more adult programming and we are working on obtaining some new furnishings and shelving for our children’s’ books.”
Clark then presented the supervisors with a request to bring funding back to the level funded in 2004, in the amount of $77,125. Last year, the supervisors funded $76,912 to the libraries. The Supervisors took the request under advisement for the upcoming budget sessions.
Palo Alto County Fair Association Board Manager Devona Perkins appeared before the board to present the Fair Board’s budget request for the coming year and also presented a plan for a proposed handicap accessible restroom/shower facility for the fairgrounds.
“We are proposing to submit a gaming grant application for funding to assist in this project,” Perkins said. “If we receive funding, it would be constructed by local contractors, use local plumbers, electricians and building products.”
A resolution of support for the gaming grant application was introduced by Supervisor Ron Graettinger and adopted on a unanimous roll-call vote of the board members.
The board also gave approval and support to a gaming mini-grant request by the Little E-Hawk Wrestling Club for a project at the wrestling club building. In other business, the board appointed Gary Anderson to replace Jay Frerk as a Township Trustee for Ellington Township.
Palo Alto County Engineer Joel Fantz briefed the board on some of the accomplishments of the Secondary Road Department during the past year and mentioned some of the highlights of the ongoing maintenance projects around the county. Fantz noted that re-grading of the county’s gravel roads has been an ongoing work, with 13 percent of the county’s gravel roads being totaled re-built and re-graded since 2001. Some 62 miles of gravel roads have undergone shoulder retrieval work on both shoulders and 187 miles have had one shoulder undergo shoulder retrieval.
“That’s a good program because when that’s done, it lets the water get away off the roads,” observed Supervisor Keith Wirtz.
Fantz also noted that following the heavy rains in June of 2010, the Federal Emergency Management Agency paid the county $110,000 for damages to roads and public facilities. “After the snows of 2009/2010, FEMA paid us $61,000 for damages, and we received $150,000 from FEMA for flood damages incurred back in 2008. It’s just prudent to pursue those opportunities to help cover those expenses when they become available.”
In terms of drainage district maintenance work, Fantz reported that a total of seven long-stick excavator projects were completed in the past year and administered by the Engineer’s Office. Through the long-stick excavator contract, minor repair work can be accomplished without the full process of large engineering studies, hearings and reclassifications. Through the seven contracts completed, a savings of $140,000 was realized for the drainage districts, according to Fantz.