Oaths of Office were completed by several recently elected or re-elected Hancock County officials at the Dec. 28 Hancock County Supervisors meeting.
Sworn into office were Supervisor Jerry Tlach, Auditor Michelle Eisenman, and incoming Sheriff Robert Gerdes, Jr.
Gerdes officially begins as Sheriff on Jan. 2 after serving as First Deputy Sheriff. Longtime Sheriff Scott Dodd announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31.
Supervisors also approved Cory Leerar, Ron Rudisill, Andrew Klein, Brook Stein, Erik Hjelmeland, and Anthony Rasmussen as Sheriff Deputies. Gerdes said Sheriff Deputies are typically approved every four years. He expressed gratitude on having all of the deputy appointees continue to work for the department as he transitions to sheriff.
In other business:
• Supervisors also approved a work proposal and agreement with A1 Excavating and Drainage, Inc. of Joice. The contract with A1, owned and operated by Elliott Evans, is for miscellaneous small project assignments and general open ditch excavation maintenance in county drainage districts during calendar year 2021.
A1 has been contracted by the county since 2018 for “long-reach excavator” work orders and has done a very good job, according to Ann Hinders of the Hancock County Auditor’s Office.
Open ditches require periodic minor maintenance and Iowa Code Section 468.126 allows the County Board of Supervisors to authorize repairs with an estimated total cost of less than $50,000 without public notice, a formal hearing, or an engineer’s report. Such work may not be divided into pieces to avoid notice hearing requirements.
The approved contract indicates that A1 offers to provide a machine excavator along with a qualified and experience operator for several projects that may be necessary. These include a mobilization project estimated at $375 as well as an estimated ten open ditch excavations totaling $1,320, and five bank leveling projects totaling $375.
• Supervisors continued discussing needed courthouse repairs and improvements. A sticking point seems to be advance uncertainties around the condition and thus, quantity, of stones requiring repair. Supervisor Sis Greiman noted frustration that approval of additional courthouse repairs has had to move slowly. The Board will discuss courthouse repairs again at its first meeting in January.
• County Engineer Jeremy Purvis informed the Board that the deck of a bridge replacement at 110th and Grand, about two miles west of Kanawha, was completed during the week of Christmas.
However, he noted that the contractor was about 35 days past the agreed-upon completion date and still had to install deck rails, which would take another 5-10 days to complete the project.
The bridge site has been closed to traffic since early August. Purvis anticipates about $45,000 in liquidated damages to be collected from the contractor, Merryman Bridge Construction Company of Algona, for traffic and detour impacts and associated costs with the delay.
Rob Hillesland is community editor for the Summit-Tribune. He can be reached at 641-421-0534, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.