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Hancock County Supervisors OK plumbing fix, remodeling in courthouse basement

Hancock County Supervisors OK plumbing fix, remodeling in courthouse basement

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Hancock County Supervisors are closer to a solution on plumbing issues in two courthouse basement bathrooms scheduled for remodeling later this year.

On May 3, Kevin Hoeft, Hancock County maintenance department director, informed supervisors that pipes tied to plumbing backups in the concrete below the bathrooms should be scoped with a camera again. Supervisors signed off on the action in hopes of pinpointing the location of a four-way joint believed to be slowing flow to the sanitary sewer.

Although there is no guarantee replacing the four-way will correct the issue. Supervisor Chair Gary Rayhons said he believes that is the root of the problem and will improve water flow.

“I would hate to tear up all the floors in the bathrooms,” said Rayhons. “Just cut up that one spot. I hope that it is in any easy spot to cut and get to it. It would be great if it is not under a wall.”

Supervisor Sis Greiman agreed that finding and cutting through concrete to its location should be the first step before. The location is believed to be under a hallway outside the bathrooms.

“Find exactly where the potential problems is,” said Greiman. “We can replace the four-way, and if that’s not the issue, we can do something else.”

Emergency Management Coordinator Andy Buffington updated supervisors on the new 200-kilowatt Kohler generator installation that will provide emergency service to the law enforcement and communications center as well as the courthouse. He said that a transfer switch for the generator should arrive in about 10 weeks and the generator itself in about 20 weeks.

Buffington said removing two 1992 fuel tanks used by the existing generator will take some work. He noted they are housed in thick concrete, are extremely heavy, and hold about 2,000 gallons each. The county will need a contractor to help with the removal, probably requiring a crane, as well as unhooking plumbing and capping the tanks.

Buffington said the county will dispose of the existing above-ground tanks and generator at some point. Exactly how has still not been decided. Buffington said the new generator will be fueled by diesel, but the tank will be under the housing and will be rated at 48 hours of full load usage.

Supervisors approved the $7,489 price quote of Next Generation Technology for a server for the camera system at the sheriff’s department and courthouse. Supervisors had discussed the need for the additional server space with Sheriff Rob Gerdes on April 19. It was needed for the phased implementation of an estimated 30 security cameras around and throughout the courthouse and law enforcement center. It should also accommodate further camera installations in the future, minus necessary hardware costs.

County Engineer Jeremy Purvis presented three resolutions that were all unanimously approved by the board. These resolutions included:

  • Traffic Safety Improvement Program application for purchasing portable signals. This application will be submitted along with Cerro Gordo County. The two counties would share the use of them if the grant is received. The signals cost around $50,000.
  • Farm to Market Review Board application. Purvis said they are seeking to add two miles of County Road R44 near Forest City to its Farm to Market system as well as three miles near the intersection of Deer and 130th where Hawkeye Pride Egg Farms is located. The review board meets in July to consider applications.
  • Update to county bridge weight limit postings as several county secondary highway bridges were found to require load limit posting per federal government criteria. These bridges contain deficiencies and are scheduled for replacement in upcoming years. Included are county bridges at Hill Avenue between 120th and 130th, 150th Street between Maple and Navy Avenues, 190th between Yale and Apple, Deer between 190th and 200th, Birch Avenue between 280th and 290th Streets, and Crane Avenue between 330th and 340th.

Purvis also announced new secondary roads department summer hires of Lucas Weiland, Luke Hanson, and Nick Davis.

In other business, supervisors set public hearings for drainage district 34 for 11 a.m. June 7 and drainage district 57 for 11 a.m. June 14. Both hearings will be held in the supervisors' basement meeting space.

Rob Hillesland is community editor for the Summit-Tribune. He can be reached at 641-421-0534, or by email at


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