Purchase and installation of a new, much larger emergency generator to provide electricity to the county law enforcement center/E-911 communications center, as well as the courthouse was unanimously approved by Hancock County Supervisors on April 26.
Upon the recommendation of emergency management coordinator Andy Buffington, supervisors approved a 200-kilowatt Kohler generator from 3E-Electrical Engineering and Equipment, Inc. in Des Moines for the bid price of $58,822.
Buffington said five companies were contacted for price quotes and three responded. He said this company has had several contracts with Hancock County previously and that the transfer switch of this particular generator will make for a better transition to the new upgrade.
Buffington said the county plans to sell the existing generator, which still works, and its fuel tanks, either together or separately.
Supervisor chair Gary Rayhons said that the new generator will sit on the west side of the law enforcement center where some concrete and conduit work will have to be completed before it is set. In the meantime, the order is being placed for the new generator. The selected company will deliver the new generation unit and come to set it.
Supervisors unanimously approved footing the entire generator cost as part of the building fund for now, to be reimbursed with $50,000 from emergency management/E-911 in the next fiscal year that starts July 1. There could be additional costs for electrical work and installation.
Buffington said his department would likely enter into and be responsible for annual costs associated with a service contract on the unit.
“With the old generator, we had a hard time finding parts to replace even used parts,” Rayhons said. “It only serves the law enforcement center and not the courthouse. The new generator will keep the courthouse operational as well.”
Hancock County dispatch and sheriff deputy staff will be trained to start the new generation unit for emergency use.
Supervisors will take a wait-and-see approach for now regarding basement bathroom remodeling in the courthouse after an update on plumbing issues in both bathrooms from maintenance department director Kevin Hoeft.
After a recent inspection of the pipes, he told supervisors that the problem appears to be localized below the three total toilets in the bathrooms, at least in part due to insufficient water output/flow there with sewage, but is also below the concrete.
Hoeft noted that there is a small hump in the sewer pipe there, which was not jetted, and also a four-way joint underneath the concrete that takes essentially all bathroom plumbing including restroom and break room sinks.
For now, the maintenance department has put up signs asking people to “please flush.” Hoeft said flushing twice or high-flush systems could help.
“Three or four feet from the toilets coming down, the pipe heads north,” said Hoeft, who said an electronic flush could be placed on a timer to help keep lines clear. “More water would probably take care of the issue.”
The sewer pipe is all PVC until the outside of the building is reached and then is clay tile. Sis Greiman said the initial remodeling plan for bathrooms was to leave plumbing fixtures pretty much as is. Hoeft said the inspection revealed local clogs near a T intersection, but the rest of the line looks spotless the rest of the way. He said the four-way joint probably should have been a 45-degree elbow instead.
Rayhons suggested, and all supervisors agreed, on finding the exact location of the four-way intersection, getting options and estimates, and proceeding from there.
In other business:
• County Engineer Jeremy Purvis announced that bridge work at 110th and Grand, about two miles west of Kanawha, has finally been completed following numerous delays. He said some payment has been withheld from the contractor due to the delay and will the final payment change amounts will be completed soon.
Purvis also announced that county roads crews hope to start a culvert project on Valley Road, starting May 3 if all necessary detour signage can be obtained. He said Prison Industries orders for signage (on contract with Hancock County) have been delayed since a recent prison lockdown.
• Supervisors signed a third amendment to a child support county staffing contract between the Iowa Department of Human Services, Bureau of Collections, and (host) Floyd County Political Subdivision. Changes were related to moving issues and concerns.
• A 9:15 a.m. public hearing on May 17 was set regarding an increase in animals only at an existing swine confinement facility and modification of the master matrix for the facility located in section 30, Orthel Township.
• Supervisors set a 9:30 a.m. public hearing for May 17 regarding proposed amendment to the county’s fiscal year 2020-2021 budget due to additional revenues.
• Supervisors established drainage district public hearings of 11 a.m. on June 1 for districts 3-4 (lateral 9), 10:15 a.m. on May 24 for districts 3-4 (lateral 10), and 10:30 a.m. on May 24 for district 57.
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.