The Lyon County Board of Supervisors met Monday, July 24, to review bids and continue discussions with David Jorgenson of Baker Group and Terry Glade with CMBA Architects in regards to the courthouse improvement project. Some of the improvements the board is currently looking into are two new boilers, new chillers, restoration of the courtroom, installing an air-handling unit, and repairing the dome and murals.
Discussions started at the end of March and, at that time, the base bid for the project was estimated to be $924,783. Bids are now over $1,183,000, coming in well over an acceptable 10 percent increase. “Seems like an awful big number; you’re off 25 percent. I think 10 percent is acceptable but 25 percent is off the charts,” said supervisor Kirk Peters. According to Jorgenson, all areas of the bid have come in close to the estimated amount except in the mechanical area due to fan coils, which are used in the air-handling unit, costing more than anticipated. The air-handling unit would regulate and condition the air coming in and going out of the building. Currently the only fresh air coming into the building is through the first-floor access doors when opened. The board also expressed concern the bids do not include the estimated $30,000 to redo the murals in the dome, which would put the project almost $300,000 over the original bid estimate.
The board discussed different options on how to move forward with the project as improvements need to be made, but staying within an affordable budget. According to Lance Iwen, Lyon County maintenance, the boiler and chillers are on borrowed time. “We have a boiler from 1968 and the rest is from 1983 and all in a 100-year-old building,” Iwen said. If the boiler were to breakdown, replacement parts are timely to receive, if available at all. It was determined that by dropping parts of the project to reduce costs now would simply cost the county more in the future. For instance, the restoration of the courtroom could be held off and save around $93,000 on the current project or air quality could be focused on the rotunda and dome area versus the office areas. These projects would still need to be completed and would cost the county more in the future. Suggestions were also made to look into casino funds, municipal leasing or even possibly the Mural Society.
The board tabled discussions July 24 until more concrete numbers came in from contractors. Jorgenson and Glade had agreed to see if any savings could be made on the air-handling unit.
The board met again Monday, July 31 and, unable to agree to spend the more than $1.1 million on all areas of the project, dropped the motion at this time. The board still has until Aug. 12 to accept bids and move forward with project.
• Lester mayor, Dan Gerber along with county engineer, Laura Sievers discussed the city of Lester’s financial responsibility for the K-30 project that will go through Lester and continue north to the Minnesota boarder. Currently the county is required to cover a width of 24 feet for roads that are disturbed during construction. Lester needs about an additional 5 feet on each side to cover the entire main street and parking areas through town. The board has suggested they assist Lester with $130,000 to $200,000, which should cover the additional width, curbs and storm sewers for the project. Payments would begin 2019 and need to be paid in full by 2024. It was agreed that payment amounts could vary. The city of Lester will be meet Aug. 7 to discuss the option presented by the board. It was requested that county attorney, Shayne Mayer write up a binding document to formally show the agreement between the county and the city of Lester. Sievers advised the board be aware this project will redirect the flow of water currently flowing over public ground to flow over private ground. Sievers wants to make sure the question of liability is addressed prior to the completion of the project. It was recommended to have Mayer work with the Lester city attorney.
• Sievers presented three federal aid agreements for overlay projects on county roads K30 and L14 scheduled to be completed next year. According to Sievers, “Some may say that some roads are worse than L14 and they may be right but you know when you have federal funds and with federal aid swap, I think we should get this money spent so they don’t flip it out from underneath us.” The third federal aid agreement would be for the bridge replacement project on K30 over Sykes Creek south of Lester. The board approved all three agreements.
• Sievers asked the board if they felt a temporary road embargo would be necessary due to the A34 closure east of George. The board does not feel an embargo is necessary at this time.
• Mayer advised the board that the language for employee health insurance and the prohibition of employees carrying weapons to work has been updated and approved for the employee handbook. Mayer suggested a department head meeting be arranged to go over the new health insurance language to ensure everyone is aware of the changes.
• Mayer requested the board’s decision on a temporary contract between Lyon County and Osceola County to have Mayer be an assisting attorney until a new attorney in Osceola County starts in early August. Mayer agreed to assist for mileage only 40 cents/mile) as she will only be covering for juvenile court and possibly any emergency mental health cases. The board approved the contract but would like Mayer to still track her hours and clarify wording on liability with Osceola.
• Kim Wilson, Northwest Iowa Care Connections CEO, presented the FY18 Annual Service and Budget Plan to the board.
• A request to hold a Bible reading at the courthouse square Sept 8 and 9 has been approved. The request stems from a proclamation signed by Gov. Branstad April 26, 2016, encouraging all Iowans to participate in reading the bible at all 99 county courthouses.
The Lyon County Board of Supervisors meet again Monday, Aug. 14.