By Rusty Ebert
---- — KEOSAUQUA — The Van Buren County Supervisors approved the hiring of one equipment operator for secondary roads, will hold a hearing on the renewal of the master matrix and approved a two-year bridge inspection contract at their regular meeting Monday.
• The board will decide whether to renew the master matrix on Dec. 9. Producers in counties that have adopted the matrix must meet higher standards than other permitted facilities. Before they can be approved for construction, operators must earn points on the master matrix for choosing sites and using practices that the DNR states reduce adverse impacts on the environment and the community.
• Barrett received a letter from the Iowa DNR environmental engineer, Michael W. Smith, in regards to the closure inspection of the old county landfill. There has been no engineering site inspection done. Barrett said it had been the county’s understanding that it was the responsibility of Barker Lemar, the county’s consulting firm. However, that apparently was not the case. The supervisors will meet Dec. 18 at the county shop to review plans for mine reclamation of the west side of the closed landfill.
• A two-year bridge inspection contract was approved with Kirkham, Michael & Associates, Urbandale, for the inspection of 160 bridges and 14 pony trusses. Approximately half of the bridges, 85, will be done in 2014 at a cost of $151 per bridge, and 75 bridges will be inspected in 2015 at a cost of $160. The Bonaparte bridge, which was inspected this year, will be done in 2015 at a cost of $1,450. Fourteen “fracture critical” bridges (pony trusses) will be inspected at a cost of $4,550. The number of bridges inspected is slightly less than last time, according to Barrett, because the county replaced some bridges with boxed culverts.
Supervisor Bob Waugh asked if there were other firms who inspected and if so, had the county contacted them for bids.
“There is one other that the county has used,” Barrett said, “but there were problems several years ago with the other one, so the county changed the inspection firms.”
• On the recommendation of the county engineer, Tom Yochum, RR Hillsboro, was appointed as an Equipment Operator 2, effective immediately, at a salary per union contract. The vote was 2-1, with supervisors Ted Nixon and Mark Meek voting for and Waugh voting against. Barrett had requested to hire two. Currently, there are seven blade districts and six snow routes. There are five drivers available.
“When I started there were 23 employees, and now there are 20,” Barrett said. There is a vacant position in the Mt. Sterling area. There is also a secondary road employee who is scheduled to have surgery. "I would like you to hire two,” Barrett said. One would be for an equipment operator and the other an inspector.
He is worried that he wouldn’t have enough snow route drivers in case the alternate can’t do it or another driver can’t.
“I think I’m asking for trouble if we don’t have enough guys. I can get by this winter with six snow routes, but if we don’t have six snow truck drivers, we’ll have to shuffle around.”
Supervisors then voted to accept the hiring of Yochum.
• Barrett said he was contacted by Jim Settles, conservation executive director, who received “a whole load of signs for the Des Moines water trail access to be placed at the boat ramps.”
Settles asked the secondary roads if they would be willing to put the signs in with the hardware supplied. There are five boat ramps.
“I don’t object to the idea of secondary roads putting them in, but the cost should come out of the conservation budget,” Meek said.
The supervisors directed Barrett to find out if the county could get funding from them.
• The supervisors determined that the following personnel property item, county owned, is no longer needed for county purposes and will be sold by sealed bids with such bids due to the county auditor no later than 10 a.m. Dec. 9: one 1,000 gallon LP tank approximately 66 percent filled with fuel.