Van Buren County to repave portion of J-40
KEOSAUQUA – The Van Buren County Board of Supervisors accepted the low bid Monday from Norris Construction in Ottumwa to re-pave several miles of J-40.
Norris bid $1,068,756. There were four total bids and the next lowest was Shipley Construction at $1,088,076. The road will be re-paved in two parts. One section is J-40 from the Lee County Line to W40. The other is on J-40 just west of Bonaparte.
“It was a good bid. We estimated $1.2 million, so it’s a little under that,” said County Engineer Dave Barrett.
The amount is paid for by the county’s farm-to-market balance with the state.
The section near Harmony school will be a 3-inch cold in place with a 3-inch hot layer on top, Barrett said. West of Bonaparte, the road will have sections repaired and fabric laid on top before hot asphalt is placed on.
The timing of this project coincides with the Des Moines Register releasing its tentative route for RAGBRAI.
At the request of the Villages of Van Buren, a J-40 route through Bentonsport and Bonaparte was considered. After consulting Barrett, it was determined that the route will go from Fairfield to Keosauqua on Highway 1 and then on J40 west through Bentonsport and Bonaparte.
The last start date for Norris Asphalt is July 22 and RAGBRAI is the next week. The contract calls for 40 work days on the project.
Barrett added “we will work it out with the contractors.”
J-40 isn’t the only road that will soon get resurfaced. Bid letting for a stretch of V-64 from Lebanon to Highway 2 will be July 16, Barrett said.
The supervisors met with D.A. Carter and Eric Tedrow on road concerns over snow removal and the conditions of certain roads.
Carter said the gravel road west of Birmingham needs attention.
“Half of the road is in good condition and the other half isn’t. It’s the dividing line between maintainer districts. Why is one better than the other?”
Carter also had concerns about snow removal on his particular road.
“It wasn’t bladed for eight days,” he said, and added the snow needed to be pushed far enough so it wouldn’t drift shut again.
Barrett, “This is the case where the blade man does what he can. Normally, it takes three days after a snow event and we had four events here lately. Also, each maintainer district covers approximately 100 miles one way and he does around 10 to 15 miles per hour. That adds up pretty quickly. We did have a lot of overtime expense here lately.”
Barrett said the road was probably done. Carter disagreed.
Carter also asked about using trucks on the gravel roads.
“The reason we don’t use them is we’ve found out that the trucks do more damage to the roads and we’ve never had good luck,” Barrett said.
Supervisor Ted Nixon said, “Right now we have seven districts and eight maintainers, with one being a spare. I called Julie at the Secondary Roads Department and all eight were out. We have had two back-to-back exceptional snowfalls. The next time, call us and call Julie and ask what kind of service to expect.”
He urged Carter to call the first day, not wait until the eighth day.
As far as the road west of Birmingham (105th and 110th Street), Supervisor Bob Waugh agreed that it needs attention.
“I would say the eastern half of the road does have more rock on it, but the western half is terrible. It looks like it has been spot rocked.”
Nixon asked Barrett to check when it was graveled last.
Dorothy Gilbert and four other interested citizens requested the board consider dust control on the road to Morris Park, as was done last year. The county paid half and Morris Park supporters raised the other half. Last year, the county’s share was about $4,230.
Waugh said he was contacted by a resident and asked how many live on the road and if they contribute. Gilbert said all residents who live on the route contribute, essentially what it would normally cost anyway.
Waugh inquired about using tree sap.
“I see an advantage with tree sap over calcium chloride. It’s darker and melts snow quicker in winter,” said Waugh.
More than two miles was dust controlled last year, according to Barrett.
Supervisors put the matter under advisement.
Barrett presented the rock distribution amount. In February, 3,575 tons of rock were placed on county roads. Most was spot rocked, however, there was a road near Hillsboro that had several tons. “I can see the need for spot rocking, but why do we rock a large area of the road in January and February?” Waugh asked Barrett.
“If you had driven the HIllsboro road before, you would understand,” Barrett said.
Supervisor Nixon said there were a few days in January and February where it was dry and above freezing.
Waugh asked about shaping and doing ditch work before adding rock.
“I agree that it is an optimal time to do that, before adding rock,” Barrett said, although admitting sometimes that isn’t done.
Waugh asked about secondary road priorities.
“We do have a list of roads that we would like to work on,” Barrett said. “Plus we need to talk about the snow removal policy. We’re getting a lot of calls.”
Supervisor Chairman Mark Meek said that supervisors would like to meet with Barrett on that and secondary road plans.
The amount of rock placed in February was essentially the same as in January, Barrett told supervisors.
• The county’s rock crushing contractor is about halfway done crushing rock.
“They’ve done about 60,000 tons, nearly half. It’s good quality rock within the tolerance of gradation.
• On a 2-1 vote, the supervisors voted to grant a tax abatement. Waugh voted no.
• Supervisors met with Eugene Wenke, Barrett, and representatives of the NRCS regarding Indian Creek Watershed Site No. 15, at the site.
• The board approved a resolution of financial commitment for the AHEAD Regional Housing Trust Fund in the amount of $1135 for the 2014 fiscal year.
• Board members reported on various committee meetings held including SIEDA, EMC training, E911/EMC, RPA policy board, Regional Housing Trust, SIDCA, R, C, & D, and Villages of VB.
• On the recommendation of the county conservation board, Mary Thomas, Mt. Sterling, was appointed as PT Greef Store Clerk/park attendant, effective March 16, 2013, at a salary of $8.00/hour.
• The county auditor was authorized to make the following quarterly transfer of tax levied funds: 11-Rural Services to 20-Secondary Roard-$156,910.00.
• The chairman was authorized to sign an engagement letter with Anderson, Larkin, & Company, Ottumwa, for 2013FY county audit services.
• The chairman was authorized to sign an agreement with Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield for health insurance coverage effective July 1, 2013, at the present rates of $587.50/month single coverage, $1468.70/month family coverage.
• The board approved the canvass of the March 5, 2013 Special Local Option Sales & Services tax election with the following results declared official : Yes-418, No-17. The board had the first reading of the county ordinance which establishes the LOSST.
• The following request for rural tax abatement was approved: Gary M. Johnson, 21167 Rte. V64, Keosauqua (In NE NE Section 35-69-11, Chequest Twp.). Supervisors Nixon and Meek voted for and Waugh voted against. He had questions on whether moving an existing home to a new basement qualifies for the abatement. After the vote, supervisors did discuss the matter with County Assessor Dixie Saunders, who said, the county could not discriminate on the type of improvements. There was one other case that saw a home move from a township to a city, which qualified for the abatement. There was another instance where a cattle barn was dismantled and re-built across the road and qualified.
The assessor’s office questioned that and the state told them that once it’s dismantled, the owner can do anything with it at that point and it is treated as a new building if it is re-built.
Saunders also said, in this case, with a new basement, that would generate more than a 15 percent increase in the value of the home and meets a key requirement in getting the abatement.
Waugh said another concern was that the home would be used for hunting.
However, the other supervisors said, under the ordinance, they couldn’t discriminate based on use.
Meek offered to put it on the agenda at the next meeting to discuss the ordinance as a whole.