By Jim Magdefrau
VINTON – Brush, web sites, communication and parking were the topics for the Benton County Board of Supervisors at their meeting Tuesday, Oct. 19, at the service center in Vinton.
A public hearing was held on entering into a General Obligation Emergency Communications Loan Agreement. There was no input from the public at the meeting. Scott Hansen, emergency management, said they will look for grants with the project manager and sheriff. Fire departments, police, ambulance and other emergency services will have the same equipment, Hansen explained. The board then voted to enter into the agreement, which is not to exceed $8,250,000.
Supervisor Chairman Tracy Seeman received an estimate of $16,740 for the west end at the service center. The north end estimate is $60,000. The estimate for the big parking lot is $93,469. No action was taken. Work needs to be done in the spring.
Ben Bonar discussed the cost increase for a brush chipper, and its impact on a grant he hoped to use to pay for it. The original estimate expired and took a large increase due to labor shortages and other factors. The new estimate was reduced to $67,090. The board voted to lock it in at $67,090. Seeman voted against the motion.
Ben Turnis, information technology, talked about moving forward with the website upgrade. He gave samples of how the website will look. The site will make it easier for officials to send information. It will have a more user-friendly mobile interface. It will make it easier for the public to get access to the county offices. They also discussed linking other offices who already have their own sites, such as the landfill. He added that he would help with uploading information for departments, but that the departments are responsible for updating their own pages. Marion and Jones Counties have the same system that Benton County is developing. The cost is $25,205 upfront to convert the site, and then they will have a fee to maintain the site.
Benton County Engineer Myron Parizek had a purchase agreement approved for a used 2019 John Deere 644K Wheel Loader through Martin Equipment. He also talked about the opening of the bridge north of Blairstown that morning, plus planned work from Union Pacific on the 77th Street railroad crossing. The crossing was part of the official detour. Work was planned to start that Wednesday (Oct. 20) on the crossing. Work also continues on the culvert north of Luzerne.
The board approving the hiring of Laura Deaton as a deputy sheriff. She will start Nov. 1.
Rose Rouse was appointed to the Pioneer Cemetery Association.
Katie Stetzel was approved as medical examiner investigator.
Bids were discussed for the parking lot for the service center.
Supervisor Richard Primmer participated by telephone.
Seeman gave an update on a retention pond project. The board also talked about Tax Increment Financing plans in Belle Plaine and Atkins with Auditor Hayley Rippel, and how this affects the collection of taxes.