The revised Fillmore County Airport project bid was approved at the county board’s May 4 meeting. The only bid from Everstrong Construction had come in at $1,802,002, which was significantly higher than the estimated budget of $1,249,602. The county’s consultant SEH (engineering/planning firm) had not recommended accepting this bid as it was.
There were two options; rebid the project or negotiate the bid lower. The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) had signaled its commitment to the project. It was decided at the board’s last meeting to try to get the bid reduced.
Today, the final bid for the T-Hangar and taxi-lane construction project was reviewed. The revised bid is $1,637,807. To achieve the cost reduction changes were made in the plan including bituminous pavement in place of more expensive concrete aprons. SEH had recommended working with the current bidder. County Engineer Ron Gregg said the scope of the work didn’t change on the building structure itself. The bid is still about 30% over the original estimate.
The county is entitled to an annual federal allotment of $150,000. This allotment has been allowed to accumulate in anticipation of this project, but is far short of the bid. Gregg said the county’s future allotments will be used to pay back other small airport allotments over six years. We borrow ahead. Pam Schroeder, airport coordinator, added that with the recent funding passed by Congress, the whole project can be paid with federal funds. Normally, it would be 90% federal, 5% state, and 5% county funding.
Chairman Randy Dahl suggested there is nothing that is expected to be a priority at the airport over the next six years. Schroeder said the next project will likely be a rehab of the runways, which can be funded after payback to airports that allow the county to borrow their allotment. Dahl stated our airport has been well maintained.
EDA website development
EDA director Chris Hahn was back again promoting an EDA Development website for the county for businesses; it would focus on marketing and promotion. It would be a tool to reach out to businesses, promote county businesses, and events to people within the county and outside of the county. There would be resources for both existing and potential residents. Come play, stay and live here. Hahn said, “I believe in this investment.”
For $1,000 per year, SMG Web Design along with Hahn will develop, maintain, and coordinate the website. No additional county staff work or resources will be needed. Smaller communities that don’t have an EDA, Chamber, or their own website will have a voice.
The contract with SMG Web Design was reviewed by the county attorney with some minor changes. Commissioner Duane Bakke said emphasis on business was a good idea, but he had some questions on how it would work. Commissioner Larry Hindt said it would be a work in progress, making changes when needed, “I like the idea as it spotlights business and communities.” Bakke said the county has seven school districts, seven libraries, and no big cities.
It was then asked if the business emphasis could be put on the county’s existing website. Or, if a link could be put on the existing website to the new EDA website. There could be a link both ways.
County Administrator Bobbie Hillery argued that the county already has a website. Why spend another $1,000 per year. Departments are cutting their budgets through centralized purchasing. She added she understands the importance of economic development. Bakke asked if what has been proposed can be created within the website we have? Hillery was also concerned, if the EDA contract is not continued at some point, then the maintenance of this website will fall on her.
Commissioner Mitch Lentz asked if the business website idea could be built on “Explore the County” on the current county website? Hahn said there would have to be a separate tab for business on the county website. This is for people in the county, but also for people outside of the county looking in.
It was decided to have Hillery and Hahn further discuss a business emphasis possibility on the county’s current website.
Other business in brief
•The lower quote from Triple EEE Contracting LLC in the amount of $118,225 was approved for new steel shingles and gutters for the county office building. The shingles are DECRA Shingle XD stone coated steel shingles that are expected to last the life of the building.
Approval was given for fire alarm control panel upgrades for the courthouse, office building, and highway engineer building. The total cost from Johnson Controls for all three buildings is $14,711.
•Hillery presented a possible structure and staffing plan for Finance and Auditor/Treasurer. The structure was recommended by the Personnel Committee. No action was taken this day. Hillery said they have received five applications for A/T. Four of the five do private tax preparation. She said the many responsibilities of the A/T are different than most people believe. It was discussed in committee how to assign the various A/T duties to certain staff people. By statute, a person has to be assigned certain duties.
Hillery suggested spreading the duties out to different account technicians could increase checks and balances. She added you could still hire an A/T. Dahl said he didn’t really want to hire an A/T and doing it the way described would diversify the offices by not relying on one person, but a team.
Kristina Kohn pointed out that the plan presented would provide a cost savings over the hire of an A/T. One more account tech would need to be hired. Some counties don’t have the position of A/T. Bakke noted that you don’t need an A/T as a department head, but thought an auditor or a treasurer is still needed. He said he preferred not to have an A/T as a department head. This will be brought back for further discussion.
•Approval was given to advertise for a replacement county surveyor.
•Approval was given to recruit a summer worker for mowing in the Highway Department.
•Stephanie Mensink was hired as a replacement Social Worker, effective May 28.
•A resolution was approved extending the Emergency Declaration for the pandemic through June 1.