The Ottumwa Courier

October 16, 2013

VB County talks farm ground, hiring

Courier correspondent

---- — KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Board of Supervisors accepted the high bid for rental of farm ground at the county care facility during its Monday meeting. The county has 215 acres pasture and 129 acres tillable that will be rented out.

Nathan DeLong, Bonaparte, bid $38,098, $212 per acre for tillable and $50 pasture. Koellner Brothers bid $35,832, $208 per acre for crop and $7,000 total for pasture (the bidder noted a multiplication error and it should have been $33,832. The total bid stood, county officials stated, although it was moot since they were not the high bidder).

Aaron Hamberg bid $35,088, $192 per acre for tillable and $48 per acre for pasture. Jerry Francy-Francy Farms bid $30,143, $167 for tillable and $40 for pasture. Rick Spees bid $30,874, $176 for tillable and $38 for pasture. Jim Jester, who had held the contract, bid $27,141.60, $160 for crop and $30.24 for pasture. Mike Thomas bid $22,413.

The new contract is for two years. Prices above were for each year. The current contract draws $24,700 for the county.

The bid from DeLong was accepted.

In other business:

• Melissa Daugherty told the board that the county is a finalist for the Robert Wood Johnson Road Maps to Health prize. The organizers for the prize will be in Van Buren County next week. She also updated the board on the community transformation grant and its continuing contract, and the Robert Wood Johnson Road Map to Health Prize grant application, of which Van Buren County is a finalist. The chairman was authorized to sign a continuing contract between the VBC Board of Health and VBC Hospital regarding the Community Transformation Grant.

• There were 29 applications for the job of Equipment Operator I at the secondary road office. Fifteen were scheduled to be interviewed, but one declined so 14 were actually interviewed, Barrett said.

Barrett asked the board for permission to hire three. He stated that two plan to retire in June 2014 and another one plans surgery.

“I am asking that you replace the one who is retiring now and hire two more so that they can receive training this winter in the job of operator and technician. We will have to find replacements anyway when the retirements come next June,” he said.

Supervisor Bob Waugh said, “I’m not ready to hire until we get the official word of their retirement.”

“I might be in favor of the second one, not third,” said Supervisor Ted Nixon. “That might help the secondary roads do some more projects. The only way to get some of these projects done is to bring the workforce back up.”

Mark Meek supported hiring just one until supervisors get a firm commitment on the retirements in 2014. He moved to hire one. Waugh seconded. That motion carried.

Barrett then recommended hiring Jacob Frueh, St. Paul, for Equipment Operator II. He has experience in the National Guard, Barrett said, and is a welder.

Waugh said he didn’t want to hire this person as Equipment Operator II; instead he wanted it at EO I, as it was advertised. Barrett said the difference in pay is eight cents per hour but is based on the experience and responsibilities. Meek said he favored the hire as an EO II and disagreed with Waugh.

A motion to hire Frueh passed 2-1. Waugh voted no.

• Supervisors accepted the resignation of Deb Greenfield as deputy county treasurer effective Nov. 1 with regret. The board met with County Treasurer Tanya McQuoid on a replacement. McQuoid would like to begin interviewing next week and hopefully, the new hire can have some training before Greenfield leaves.

Greenfield was full time, and McQuoid wants the replacement to be full time. Supervisors want to discuss the matter and will decide at a meeting next Monday.

McQuoid said the office, which handles motor vehicle licenses, driver’s license and property taxes, has three full-time workers. The new worker would be cross trained, as in the past.

“The driver’s license department could also help with motor vehicle,” McQuoid said.

However, supervisors, in a mood to save some salary and benefit expense, discussed making the driver’s license just part time, perhaps three days a week.

Supervisors decided they would like time to study the 28E agreement between the state and the county on the ramifications if the county cuts back to two or three days a week. They will also check to see what other counties do.