Supervisors talk roads, ATVs

The Tama County Board of Supervisors heard from County Engineer Lyle Brehm on an update from his Roads Department during their regular meeting on Sept. 13.

Crews will be spending time hauling rock in the near future and look to soon begin a bridge replacement project on E Avenue in western Tama County. A small bridge is planned to be replaced with a box culvert on the roadway in the coming weeks.

The Roads Department will also be working at Salt Creek near Elberon soon to help redirect water flow that has shifted toward the bank over time.

Brehm said the plan is to install wing dikes out of rock that would be tall enough to adjust the water flow direction but short enough to allow overflow to easily go over the top.

Brehm also gave an update on the bridge project that Benton County is spearheading north of Dysart on V37.

The bridge deck was recently poured, which should allow for the road to open in the coming weeks barring weather setbacks and additional work that has to be completed including pouring the guide rails.

Supervisors also heard from Human Resources Director Tammy Wise on a pair of issues.

Wise said she has formed an American Rescue Plan Allocation Committee that will work to hear requests for and allocate funds from the pool of federal aid money coming through the American Rescue Plan Act.

The committee was opened to all county employees to express interest in serving. Members will include Treasurer Michelle Yuska, Public Health Director Shannon Zoffka, Economic Development Director Katherine Ollendieck, Assistant Auditor Maureen Kratoska and Joel Faircloth.

The committee will develop an application form departments and entities within the county can use to request funding from the county’s federal allocation.

Wise also provided a brief update on the investigation into an all-terrain vehicle and off-road utility vehicle ordinance that was proposed by a group of residents the week before.

Her report indicated the county would see no additional insurance cost should they decide to legalize the use of the vehicles on county roads.

Wise asked the board to consider the factors of whether or not to allow the vehicles on hard surface roads versus gravel and if allowing vehicles with a speed limit of 35 mph to travel on roads with 55 mph speed limits would be preferred.

Ollendieck was also at the meeting and spoke of the tourism benefit of opening up the county to more recreational vehicle travel.

She said places like Oak Ridge MX in Garwin and Club Sport that operate out of the OHV Park in Tama would be eager to establish events for ATV or UTV riders. Ollendieck estimated thousands of tourists have been brought into the county each year for motocross events at Oak Ridge and that the addition of events for UTV or ATV riders would expand that number even further.

The board took no action on the ATV/UTV ordinance at the Monday meeting though the measure is expected to be considered in the near future.

Assistant Public Health Director Lori Johnson came before the board Monday to renew an agreement with the Iowa DNR that would establish permitting authority to the state DNR department for wells in the county.

Johnson said five wells have been dug in Tama County since April. Those looking to install a new well are required to pay a $250 permit fee. Grant assistance through the county is available to residents who are in need of well rehabilitation.

The board decided to table the agreement for two weeks.

Katherine Ollendieck presented an invoice for a tourism ad to the board Monday.

The Tama County Tourism Committee took out a full page ad in the Central Iowa Tourism magazine at a cost of $500. The ad features a number of tourist attractions within the county including the Matchstick Marvels museum in Gladbrook, the Salt and Pepper Gallery in Traer and the Wieting Theatre in Toledo.

Ollendieck said her department will be working this winter to update Tama County’s tourism guidebooks and that requests for the books have increased in recent weeks.

The board approved the invoice, which Ollendieck said could partially be offset by the organizations featured in the add paying a sponsor fee to be included.