At their weekly meeting Tuesday, the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors reviewed a report from County Engineer Dave Shanahan on three bids he had received on new surveying equipment, and approved Shanahan's recommended bid from Trimble. The equipment will cost $44,525, and Shanahan said he has the money in his budget to cover the cost.
County Commissioner of Elections Kris Glienke reported on the condition of the county's election equipment. The equipment currently being used was purchased in 2005 and has been used in 35 elections since that time. The equipment has had some breakdowns, said Glienke, and will probably need to be upgraded "in the near future."
Supervisors were shown the present equipment and a model which would replace it, which, in addition to performing functions which the current equipment cannot, is also considerably smaller and much easier to transport. The company which provides and services the equipment has extended an offer to sell the new equipment for $95,000 and take the old equipment on trade-in until January 31, 2013, and has also agreed to accept half of the payment on July 1, 2013 and the remaining half on July 1, 2014, with no interest.
No action was taken at Thuesday's meeting, because the item was not an action item on the agenda, and the Supervisors requested that the item be placed on the next agenda, so that they can act on the matter.
In other business, Plains Area Mental Health Center Executive Director Patrick Schmitz submitted his agency's Budget Request for the Board's consideration.
Brad Nelson and Chuck Tolzin, representing the Cherokee County Fair Board, reported on the 2012 Fair and previewed the 2013 Fair, which they said will be starting a week later than usual. The two also reported that they have hired a different promoter for the Demolition Derby this ear and have installed a new fire alarm system which reports directly to the Cherokee Fire Department, and the CFD has a key which will allow them access to any equipment they would need at the Fairgrounds.
The new system should allow for a quick response to any fire calls to the fairgrounds. The Fair Board also submitted a request for $25,000 in county funding for this year, which is the same amount they received last year.
County Conservation Director Chad Brown submitted his annual report and discussed the county's eligibility for Rural Enterprise Assistance Project funds, which can be vital in assisting the county in making purchases. Brown said Cherokee County, at this point ,would be about $10,000 short of qualifying for REAP funds, and he would have to submit a Budget Amendment to allow the county to qualify for these funds.
Brown also again brought up the possibility of building a 12-person cabin at Martin's Access, which would allow larger family groups to camp there and could also include a meeting room which could be used for educational presentations by the County Naturalist. Brown estimated the cost of the cabin at $75,000, and suggested it could be paid for over two fiscal years.
Mary Beth Conley of Clean Line Energy presented a report on the company's Rock Island electric transmission project, in which a 500-mile high voltage direct current transmission line would be used to transmit cost-effective wind-generated electricity from northwest Iowa to Illinois, and perhaps eventually even further east.
Clean Line Energy will pay $7000 per transmission line each year to be apportioned among the taxable districts in each county in which the line will operate and make payments to property owners for the easements needed to construct and operate the project.
The project would enable more than $7 billion in new wind farms to be constructed in northwest Iowa, and the construction would also boost demands across the state for materials and services that support the transmission and wind power industries,
In addition, it is felt that county residents will benefit generally from the construction and manufacturing jobs and associated economic benefits that the project will provide, and that it will also bring substantial environmental benefits to the region, resulting in cleaner air and cleaner water.
The Supervisors signed a resolution (#2013-02) expressing their support for Clean Line Energy's efforts to develop and construct the Rock Island Clean Line, and to work cooperatively with Clean Line Energy during the development and construction of the Project, A copy of the resolution will be forwarded to the Iowa Utilities Board, to whom Clean Line is applying for an electric transmission franchise to construct and operate the transmission line in the state of Iowa.
Conley estimated that because of the number of the legal permits, etc., which are required, the construction project would probably not begin until 2015 or 2016, and the line would probably not be operational until 2017.