By Jim Magdefrau
VINTON – Holidays and roadside management help were the main topics for the Benton County Board of Supervisors at their meeting Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, at the service center in Vinton.
Upcoming paid holidays were discussed with Kirsten Nelson, human resources. She pointed out that this is the third year in a row that the state has modified holidays. The state is now closed on Dec. 23. The board will follow the state’s plan for county employees.
George Haefner, roadside vegetation manager, discussed hiring a new assistant roadside manager, plus an additional full-time employee for roadside management. Hunter Jensen was approved as assistant manager. Nelson said Jensen will have a year to get the extra certification that is needed. The salary is $49,500. It would go up to $51,500 after certification, according to Nelson. Jensen has served as an intern. Supervisor Richard Primmer abstained. As for a third employee for the department, Haefner said they have had a hard time getting seasonal help. A full-time employee could help make up for the lack of seasonal help. The job was approved and will be posted. Haefner explained there is plenty to do to keep a third person busy. Money would come from the budget for seasonal help.
A change order was approved for the Racom project at Rodgers Park, Vinton.
Members were discussed for the security committee. Benton County Attorney David Thompson suggested the assessor, human resources and security officer be on the committee. The matter was tabled.
The board discussed a soil compaction project funding request per the Iowa State Association of Counties. They decided to not take part in this.
Benton County Engineer
The board approved the wage increase and classification change for Jamie Kane, secondary roads. The hourly wage is now $25.84. Benton County Engineer Myron Parizek also had the board approve a modification for the farm-to-market extension through Shellsburg. This deals with a new bridge project. Parizek also gave updates on Highway 30 and painting the county roads.
Parizek wrote in a note after the meeting, “IDOT is planning to switch traffic onto the new poured concrete lanes along Highway 30 between 16th Ave and 23rd Ave. All access to and from Highway 30 southbound will be open. Highway 30 to Blairstown will be open. There will be no detour to Blairstown. All access to and from Highway 30 northbound will be closed. Highway 30 to Van Horne will be closed. The detour will be Highway 218 and E44 (old Highway 199).”
He added, “Highway 21 intersection will be closed all winter and throughout the construction season of 2023. Detour in place is from Belle Plaine east to 13th Ave, north to Highway 30 (old 131), north to Keystone on 15th Ave (old 200), and west on E44.”
IDOT maintenance will perform winter maintenance along this route during the winter of 2022/23.
Highway 30 four-lane portion hopefully will be to open to traffic before winter between Salt Creek Bridge and 11th Ave.
Highway 150 Roundabout at Urbana – Stage 2 of project is to connect roundabout to Highway 150 north portion and Highway 150 west portion between Oct .10 and Nov. 14. Detour is V71 north to Brandon and D48 east back to Hwy 150
He added that Benton County Secondary Roads has hired a traffic paint contractor to paint markings on various county routes. Yesterday they painted the surface sealed roadways north of Keystone and west of Van Horne.
They will be painting between Van Horne and Garrison today (Tuesday).
Painting selected routes south of Highway 30 will be done today and tomorrow.
Newhall, Shellsburg, Urbana areas will be done on Wednesday and Thursday.
The board went into closed session to discussed pending litigation, according to Iowa Code 21.5 (1)c.