Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Mar 29, 2017

Van Buren board discusses new hires

By Rusty Ebert, Ledger correspondent | Mar 03, 2017

KEOSAUQUA – Van Buren County Supervisors approved a track excavator purchase, new hires and discussed bridges at their  regular meeting Monday.

Van Buren County Engineer Ryne Thornburg updated the board on various road projects including employee resignations/hirings, purchase of track excavator, general road conditions/work, and bridge replacement projects pending.

• On recommendation of the county engineer, the board approved a bid from Scott Van Keppel Equipment, Cedar Rapids, for a new Volvo track excavator, with options, in the total amount of $178,552 maximum. The board received other quotes for Caterpillar, John Deere and Komatsu machines. Secondary roads will keep the Daewoo as a third machine and then scrap it when it’s no longer functional, Thornburg said.

The county was able to test  all of the machines and workers rated the Caterpillar and Volvo as the top machines. The Volvo was recommended because of the price, Thornburg said and also the technology in the Caterpillar excavating probably wouldn’t have been used as much to justify spending more. The quote includes options recommended by Thornburg. Supervisors discussed the options, and approved purchasing the machine with the options.

Thornburg added that with the purchase, secondary roads has slightly more than $100,000 remaining in the new equipment budget.

• On the recommendation of the county engineer, Myron Thornburg, Keosauqua, was appointed as sign technician, effective March 20, 2017, at a salary of $17.20/hour per union contract.

• Following review of the proposed amendments and answering of questions from those present, and upon  receiving no comments on the same, supervisors approved the amendments, as proposed: Public Safety-$1,289,300 to $1,294,300, Physical Health-$488,301 to $516,401, Mental Health-$261,380 to $281,380, County Environment & Education-$352,999 to $394,699, Govt. Services-$280,057 to $281,557, Administration-$666,734 to $811,234, Capitol projects-$1,414,500 to $1,764,500, with the following approved appropriations: Auditor-$233,741 to $235,241, Juvenile Detention-$17,500 to $27,500, Local Health-$403,511 to $421,611, Mental Health-$261,380 to $281,380, Conservation-$283,760 to $298,460, Courthouse-$107,050 to $142,050, District Court-$11,000 to $16,000, Non-Departmental-$306,739 to $793,239.

• On the recommendation of the county attorney, the board approved Linda Mott, Keosauqua, as a part-time legal assistant to the county attorney up to 20 hours per week, effective February 27, 2017, at a rate of $13/hour.

• The board accepted the resignation of Dale House, VBC Secondary Road office manager, effective March 2. The board also accepted the resignation of VBC Secondary Road employee Eric J. Kuster effective March 6.

• An updated job description for the VBC Secondary Road office manager, as presented by the county engineer, was approved.

•  Jason Copeland, assistant to the county engineer, was appointed as VBC Safety Coordinator.

• Thornburg said that the cost estimate of the Rock Creek bridge replacement on 180th Street is $580,000, more than double the amount that had been previously estimated a few years ago. It would be a double box culvert. Supervisors winced at the  new estimate and discussed the road’s use and other possibilities for bridge replacement. Thornburg said that Quail Road bridge was another option to jump ahead of the Rock Creek bridge, but it will also have a large price tag.

The county does have money in its bridge account, but it would need to be let by a certain time, Thornburg added.

The 180th Street bridge does serve as a major thoroughfare from Highway 1 to near the Lee County line, according to Van Buren County Auditor Jon Finney.

Road use and cost were the important considerations when it comes to priorities, according to Chairman Mark Meek.

• The county treasurer was authorized to assess special assessment liens against the following property owners in the former city of Mt. Sterling for delinquent sewer accounts: 1) Kimmarie Robison -$272.79,  2) Brad Smith -$267.83, 3) John Smith -$267.83, 4) Donald Butner -$272.90, 5) Brad and Rayeann Farris -$107.91.

• The low bid of Anderson, Larkin & Co. P.C., Ottumwa, was accepted for auditing services for the 2017FY through 2019FY at a cost of $15,000 for 2017FY, $15,500 for 2018FY, and $16,000 for 2019FY, with an additional $1,500 due if a single audit report is required.

• Supervisors and Thornburg said that if farmers and property owners that have right of way fencing overgrown with brush and trees to give the secondary roads a call to be put on a list to remove by dozing.

• Thornburg said that the garage that was moved years ago onto the secondary roads property will be checked for lead and asbestos. Samples will be taken and cost estimates given to dispose of the building, which is falling into disrepair. Secondary roads inherited the building after the jail was built.

• Board members reported on various committee meetings held including VBC Conference Board, 10/15 Transit, weather spotter class, and Des Moines River trail.

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