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Supervisors Address Fire Department Request

By Staff | Jul 21, 2015

Issues ranging from utility permits to the hiring of a new county employee, kept the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors busy at their Tuesday meeting, July 14.

Cylinder Fire Chief Dave Pettit, appeared before the supervisor to ask for assistance, in the form of granting the fire department access to the fuel supply at the Secondary Road Department shed in Cylinder.

“We will be losing our current gas facility in Cylinder with the closing of the pumps at the StateLine Co-Op.” Pettit told the board. “We discussed other options available for having a local supply of fuel for the fire trucks. It was mentioned that possibly we could get fuel at the county shed. It would not be good if we were at a fire by Depew and had to get fuel in Emmetsburg.”

Palo Alto County Engineer Walter Davis-Oeth raised a concern on the request. “I’m not sure how we would separate vehicles for payment.”

“The sheriff gets gas there,” Pettit pointed out.

“Then there must be a way for the pump to recognize a vehicle,” acknowledged Supervisor Keith Wirtz.

“Would it be possible for you to call right now so we can resolve this issue today?” Supervisor Linus Solberg asked Davis-Oeth. He excused himself briefly to make the call to Pat Madsen, the Secondary Road Department Maintenance Foreman.

After a few minutes, Davis-Oeth returned with his findings. “Cylinder’s county shed pumps do use a key system. All we need to do is issue the keys to the Cylinder Fire Department and it’s a done deal.”

The board gave its blessing to the request, noting it was in line with similar arrangements with the hospital for ambulances and the Emmetsburg Schools for school vehicles.

Davis-Oeth then presented the board with four utility permits for approval: two for Iowa Lakes Electric to bore underneath county roads to replace overhead lines in Sections 4-5 of Nevada Township; Sections 16 and 21 of Great Oak Township and a third permit to install new underground service in Sections five and eight of Vernon Township. An underground permit for Windstream Communications to cross Right of Way in Sections 3-4 of Emmetsburg Township was also approved along with the ILEC permits by the board.

In other business, Emmetsburg resident Jason Frederick appeared before the board and Engineer to discuss engine-braking signage. Fredrick pointed out that he lives on the new bypass road south of Emmetsburg. He informed the board that the trucks using that road use their Jake brakes multiple times throughout the day.

“They are extremely loud especially at night. ” Fredrick commented. “I would appreciate a “No engine brake” sign out here.”

Board members had some reservations about putting up signs in an area of the county, as the county has no engine-braking ordinance in place. Among the issues raised were expectations for law enforcement to monitor and enforce the signs.

“I have no interest in putting up these signs without an ordinance to enforce them,” Davis-Oeth said. “The engineer’s office would be responsible for maintaining them and they can become hazardous down the road. However, I do not have a problem with you putting your own sign up provided it is not in the right of way.”

“Maybe we could call POET and see if they can’t hand something to drivers requesting limited usage of Jake brakes.” Suggested Supervisor Ron Graettinger.

“How about this,” Supervisor Linus Solberg suggested. “You put up a nice sign in the fence line and if it hasn’t made a difference in a while, you can come back in and report it again. We have a meeting at POET today and we will be sure to discuss this issue with them.”

Further discussion on thewas tabled.

Palo Alto County Auditor Carmen Moser informed the board of a newly hired employee, Sheri Freeman of Emmetsburg, for the position of Clerk in the Auditor’s Office. Freeman’s starting salary will be $34,000 with full time benefits, with a salary raise based on a six-month performance evaluation. Graettinger moved to approve the hiring with Supervisor Keith Wirtz offering a second. The motion received unanimous approval.

In a final item of business, the board voted 3-2 to introduce and approve a resolution of financial support to the Iowa Drainage District Association for $5,000 a year for three years to support the legal defense of three Northwest Iowa Counties in a lawsuit filed by the Des Moines Waterworks. Voting for the resolution were Supervisors Ed Noonan, Keith Wirtz and Craig Merrill, while Supervisors Linus Solberg and Ron Graettinger cast nay votes.