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Wetland Mitigation Topic Of Discussion

Final Bids Accepted For Brinks Building Project

February 15, 2017
by Anesa McGregor , Emmetsburg News

The topic of wetland mitigation was discussed by the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors in its weekly meeting Tuesday. Rick Hopper and Dallas Heikens, Drainage Engineers from Jacobsen Westergard of Estherville and Jeremy Thilges, Resource Conservationist from the Natural Resources Conservation Service met with the board along with area landowner J im Stillman. The purpose of the discussion was to address wetland restoration and wetland mitigation and what could be done to reach some landowners that are unsure of the program.

"The purpose of the meeting is to see if there is anything that the County to help with Drainage District 64," Keith Wirtz, Supervisor Chairman began. "To me there are so many wins on it. Everybody farming in this district will have improved drainage if we can establish the wetlands that Jeremy has been talking about."

"We will be putting good water into the lake which has tremendous value and that trickles on out into our ditches and into the rivers," Wirtz continued. "There's just a lot of winning there and it comes back to what does it do for the landowner."

According to Jim Stillman, farmer and landowner, there is approximately 12 to 15 acres that flood out at times within this area.

"I think there needs to be a group of us, that can meet with the interested party and explain that this can be worth a lot of money," Linus Solberg, Supervisor stated.

"We need to put something together to show the landowner the selling points to get them to participate in a program such as this," Wirtz said. "How would we go about this?"

"Wetland restoration gives more credit which can sell for $10,000 to $12,000 per acre to the landowner," Jeremy Thilges, Resource Conservationist from the Natural Resources Conservation Service said.

The Supervisors directed Hopper and Heikens to put together a plan that they can present to the landowner, showing the advantages of wetland restoration and mitigation.

In other business, Rick Elbert was on hand to present a slightly high cost for carpeting from Peterson Furniture than first submitted.

"There is an increase of $1,461 for carpet from Peterson Furniture due to an upgrade in carpet quality and quarter turning it because of the variance in the building," Elbert said. "This changes the original bid of $17,425 to $18,886, which is still the lowest bid."

Unanimous approval was received.

"I also have the final bids for the Brinks Building, which is the cabinets," Elbert continued. "Architectural Arts of Des Moines submitted a bid of $19,984 and Buhrow Construction of Emmetsburg, submitted a bid of $17,689."

With little deliberation, the contract was awarded to Buhrow Construction with a unanimous vote.

Joe Neary, Palo Alto County Zoning, Solid Waste and Environmental Health Officer presented the Supervisors with a three-year agreement with the Northern Plains Regional Landfill. The agreement shows a three percent increase per year beginning July 1, 2017 per ton of solid waste.

With some deliberation, unanimous approval was given.

The Board then went into closed session for an employee performance review for approximately 20 minutes.

Palo Alto County Engineer Walter Davis-Oeth presented a gravel-crushing contract with Stratford Gravel, Inc of Stratford in the amount of $224,000, which works out to be $2.24 for 100,000 tons of crushed gravel. Unanimous approval was given.

In final business, the Supervisors unanimously approved a 28E Agreement for sharing of the Mental Health Advocate costs with Northwest Iowa Care Connections Mental Health and Disability Services in Spencer.

At this time, the Board went back into closed session for bargaining strategy with the Sheriff's Office Association.



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