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The Waukon Standard
April 16, 2008

Supervisors discuss County Farm, other issues in regular Monday session

by Bob Beach

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors held its regular meeting Monday, April 14 with Chairman Lennie Burke, Dave Duncklee and Kathy Campbell in attendance. During public comment time, Doug Mullen of Lansing asked the Board for information about rumors circulating about plans to develop the property at Columbus Bridge. Supervisor Duncklee explained that the Conservation Board had discussed the possibility of building a rivers and bluffs museum on the property, but a recent survey showed the size of the property would be inadequate for the project.

Also during public comment time, Supervisor Campbell informed the Board that she had received a call from Butch Fossum, who said that several people present at a recent firemen's meeting are upset that the county is no longer paying bounties on gophers. He also encouraged the Board to approve a proposed project to straighten a portion of Chimney Rock Road.

Doug Mullen asked the Board for clarification on the Board's recent decision to close the county farm. Supervisor Duncklee explained that the farm had only shown a profit one year out of seven. He said that some of the farm is rented, and that a three-year lease will expire this year and the county will be accepting bids for the lease again. A small portion of the land (40-50 acres) on the county farm is managed by the Conservation Board. The county's livestock at the farm is being sold.

Outgoing County Farm Manager Randy Dehli pointed out that some of the livestock at the farm has already been sold, adding that several calves were purchased by Chairman Burke. Chairman Burke said that he purchased the calves at a public auction, but said "If I had it to do over again, I would not have bid because of my position." Chairman Burke also reiterated that the closing of the farm was not at all due to any fault of Dehli's. He said that the concept of a self-sustaining county farm had been made unfeasible by changing times - primarily liability issues that made free labor for the farm unavailable.

Mullen also addressed the Board on the issue of maintenance of pioneer cemeteries. He said that there is no organization or documentation for the upkeep of pioneer cemeteries. He pointed out that some townships contract for the mowing of cemeteries through trustees, and since trustees are technically county employees, there may be some liability issues that need to be explored. The Board agreed to consult with the County Attorney on the matter.

Director of Allamakee Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) Barb Winters presented the Board with a proposal to apply for a state-level grant from the 21st Century Learning Center. The five-year grant would provide $7.50 per student per day for after school programs. The Board agreed to apply for the grant as a partner with Allamakee Community School District.

In other business, the Board accepted and placed on file the Sheriff's and Recorder's quarterly reports and the Case Management cost report for June through December of 2007. The Board also approved a temporary increase in hours for one of Case Management's part-time employees.

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