LSCP attorneys finalized F Ave. contract

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

It appears the contract agreement regarding the proposed F Avenue paving project between Cherokee County and Little Sioux Corn Processors (LSCP) found binding by a District Court judge, was finalized by LSCP lawyers before the Supervisors signed off on it.

This could explain why Cherokee County was forced into completing the project proposed in the 5-year construction plan and later pulled out due to doubling costs and other more critical road/bridge work identified.

Curious because there were no “escape” contingencies in the contract for the county in case of unforeseen developments and/or funding difficulties, the Chronicle Times reached out to all involved county officials and could not get an answer as to who crafted the contract. However, when contacted personally, former Supervisor Dennis Bush reported that County Attorney Ryan Kolpin and LSCP attorneys crafted the contract that was ultimately signed by the Board.

When contacted, Kolpin told the CT that he initially had some input in crafting the contract but that several of his recommendations were not included in the final draft, inexplicably indicating that LSCP was responsible for the language and had the final say before presenting it to the Supervisors for their approval.

That language in the agreement proved fatal to the county when found binding by the judge, which has forced the county to proceed with the F Avenue project previously placed in the proposed 5-year plan.

The $6M project that had ballooned from its original estimate of $3M is scheduled for 2023. The project is for a 3-mile stretch of graveled road from C16 to the LSCP plant that was previously fortified to accommodate the heavy truck traffic involved in the Glaciers Edge wind farm in the vicinity.

County Engineer Sarah Tracy, who inherited the F Avenue project midstream, has repeatedly told the Board there are several more critical road and bridge projects needed in the county and must take higher priority. That has fallen on deaf ears from the LSCP Board, standing firm with the contract and legal interpretation on their side.

Besides the truckers and motorists driving on it, the F Avenue project represents no direct benefit to LSCP or the county, with the exorbitant cost negating any future maintenance expense far into the future.

Tracy also reports that since fortified for the wind farm truck traffic, that stretch of F Avenue is sturdy and reliable for all truck traffic.

Some Supervisors are also investors in LSCP and at least one former Supervisor was instrumental in organizing and driving the initial ethanol plant proposal. There has been innuendo but no direct evidence of conflict of interest at play regarding this issue.

According to county officials, the F Avenue project may also now be “pared down” from its original design to lessen the financial burden and still meet the terms of the LSCP contract.

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