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Supervisors mull building projects, excavator

October 4, 2013
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville News

The Emmet County Board of Supervisors Tuesday juggled two upcoming building projects and a recently purchased excavator - and how to pay for them.

Supervisor Jon Martyr broached the subject of a proposed $100,000 addition to the Armstrong shop, planned and budgeted for this year.

Board chair Alan Madden recalled that the board had looked instead at the BASF building - and determined it unsuitable. He then questioned the reason for adding to the Armstrong shop rather than pursuing another alternative.

"The reason we have storage is because we have the equipment over there. Does it need to be there?" asked Madden.

"Absolutely," said secondary roads foreman Rich Blinkmann.

Ron Beaver of secondary roads also said they wouldn't want to have the payloader outside due to gelling problems.

Supervisor Ron Smith noted that the Armstrong shop was just a half-hour from the main shop in Estherville. "I'm on a hold on the Armstrong addition," Smith said.

"I'm totally against being on hold," Blinkmann said.

Supervisor Jon Martyr said the board had known about plans for the addition and had approved the budget. "I'm hearing the board of supervisors trying to tell secondary roads how to do their job," Martyr said, adding that the board had said money for the recently purchased excavator would not come from what had been budgeted for the Armstrong shop addition - and that was what some board members wanted to do now. "This is embarrassing," Martyr said.

When Madded asked Blinkmann what was different now than when the Armstrong shop was built, said Blinkmann, "It was probably underbuilt."

"I think they were shooting for a quicker response to the priority roads over there," said Dan Burton, assistant to the engineer.

Smith insisted that the board may have to take money to pay for the excavator from what it had budgeted for the building.

"After you specifically said you would not take it out of their budget," said Martyr.

When supervisor Bev Juhl asked Blinkmann how many years the shop was deemed inadequate, Blinkmann said it had been quite a while. Juhl suggested that the shop addition be put on a one-year hold and that the board budget for it. "Looking at the BASF building brought it up to me - we need to look at it more," Juhl said.

"We've kind of assembled things as we've gone along," said supervisor Tim Schumacher. "We need a grand plan. What we have down here is pretty piecemeal. It's getting the job done. But that's it. It's just getting the job done. It just feels like we're just chipping at it all the time."

"You build where you need - the storage space when you need it," Blinkmann said.

"The excavator and BASF - that was the board's idea," insisted Martyr.

"That was a good idea" Beaver said of the excavator which the county bought to clean ditches. However, he said it would have cost more to remodel the BASF building that to build new.

Martyr pointed out that a fall injury at the Armstrong shop was related to cramped space.

The board discussed making the excavator payment from the rural services budget.

As for an expected $60,000 for repairing the armory roof, Madden said that could be covered with the county's share of the local option sales and service tax. "For $60,000 I can see some value there," said Madden, noting a cost of $30,000 to $40,000 to tear the armory down.

Madden also said the fair board was willing to pay $3,000 a year toward restoring the roof.

In other business Tuesday, the board discussed the county personnel policy and approved an agreement with Hawkeye Two LLP of Emmetsburg to extend a waste pipeline under 100th Street from Martin County, Minn. into Emmet County.

The board also approved an agreement for physical capacity profile testing and Website report delivery as presented by Mike Raner, Shield program director with Northwest Iowa Planning & Development. The pre-employment physical capacity testing would cost $125.

"You're really looking at a microscopic look at that employee from top to bottom," Raner said.



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