Board OKs contract for trail projects

Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved an agreement for engineering work which would consolidate work to be done on bridge for the Jewell-Ellsworth trail and paving portions of the trail.

Hamilton County Conservation Director Brian Lammers told the supervisors the contract is with Snyder and Associates of Ankeny, the firm hired with the Jewell to Ellsworth trail project. He said that in 2012, Jewell and Ellsworth received Resource Enhancement and Protection grants totaling $125,000. The Conservation Department in 2009 received a transportation enhancement grant through the Iowa Department of Transportation to place a bridge over a drainage ditch on the trail. The bridge project would cost about $178,000.

Lammers proposed doing the bridge and paving projects together with the engineering firm so all three can be done at the same time. The project place the bridge and also pave about 900 feet from U.S. Highway 69 to up to the drainage ditch and about four-tenths of a mile on the Ellsworth side from Delphi Street going west to the South Skunk River bridge.

“Basically were combining all three projects with one contract,” Lammers said.

“This has been a long time in the making,” Supervisor Chairman Doug Bailey said referring to the trail project.

The supervisors voted to approve the contract with Snyder and Associates.

The board also approved a non-binding letter of intent to possibly sell a parcel of land across the street from the courthouse.

Bailey said the letter came from a development firm, D3 LLC, which is working with a client that wishes to remain anonymous for the time being. He said the letter represents a very preliminary inquiry from the developer and the end user, who will survey and “perform their due diligence to see if this property would even work for the end user.”

The county owns about 5.7 acres across Red Bull Division Drive and the parcel of land in question is 3.18 acres. Bailey said the price in the letter of intent was based on $100,000 per acre.

“If at some point – either now or in the future – we were to sell a portion of that property, we want to make sure what remains is of value and the drainage is addressed for the first parcel and remains viable for the second parcel left over,” he said.

The property has some drainage issues that would need to be addressed by any buyer.

“If you remember when it’s rained very much in the past, there’s a river that runs down through there,” he said.

The supervisors set additional requirements into letter, such as limiting the use of the property to a 34,750-square foot retail store. They also added a sale could only take place following a public hearing by the board of supervisors. No incentives have been sought or offered, Bailey said.

The supervisors also approved a letter of intent drafted to Charles Palmer at the Department of Human Services which outlines proposed counties organized for the purpose of mental health regionalization. Social Services Director Patti Treibel said that the counties included were Boone, Franklin, Hardin, Hamilton, Madison, Marshall and Story counties.

“These are the regions that are forming and in agreement that we will work together,” she said. “We had to comply with Senate file 2315 and have addressed those issues in there.”

She said she hoped to have the document submitted so the group will hear back soon.

“We want to hear that this is a go and we can actually begin the work to put this all together,” Treibel said.

Treibel asked the supervisors for approval of the letter of intent and to designate a representative to the proposed board.

“If things change – as you know they are continually changing in the mental health world now – then we will bring those changes to the board as they happen,” she said.

Once the letter of intent is accepted, Treibel said the new regional board would begin work on a 28E agreement.

“This is just the first required step,” Bailey asked Treibel.

“Yes. And we know that some counties have already submitted their letter and still haven’t heard back. We’re hoping for a quick response,” she said. “We just want to make sure they approve these counties to be together.”

The board approved the letter of intent and appointed Bailey to serve on the regional board.

In other business, the board:

set March 12 at 9:15 a.m. as the date and time of the Fiscal Year 2014 budget hearing.

announced that an open house at Hamilton County Public Health’s new office will be held April 4, during National Public Health Week.