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April 6, 2020

2/21/2020 11:15:00 AM
County board sets special meeting on law center bids
J. Patrick Reilly

The Iowa County Board of Supervisors decided at their regular meeting Tuesday to schedule a special session to allow the entire board to view and discuss the bids for the proposed law enforcement center.
The date will be Wednesday, March 11 and the meeting will have a 6 p.m. start. Bids will be opened March 5 and should be ready to discuss the following week.
Public Comment
Pam Steffes addressed the board under public comments. She has 23 years of service with the Iowa County Sheriff's Department. She told the board the present jail facility is outdated and does not meet the needs of the jail population which has ranged from 17 years of age to 86.
Steffes said the people who worked on the planning for a new law enforcement center did their job very well and asked the board to have all the information they need before voting on the new center next meeting.
Several residents from the Town of Brigham addressed the board about their opposition to the proposed quarry project asked for by Bard Materials. The rezoning request was addressed in closed session.
Problems with blasting, run off, visual impact, use for mining, etc. were among the reasons for the opposition.
Town chairman Jason Carden addressed the board and said the township has provided documentation that says the proposed rezoning is in opposition to the township's comprehensive plan.
"A quarry is not an ag use," he said. "We recommend you do not grant the petition."
One resident said he is not opposed to a quarry operation, just not on this site. Another said with Blue Mounds State Park and Military Ridge the proposed quarry will be an eyesore and will create a dust problem.
A representative of Bard asked that the matter to go back to the planning commission. He said all the concerns of the neighbors can be addressed and that a conditional use is always ongoing.
Attorney Tia Fischer who represents Bard thanked the board for putting the matter back on the agenda.
The board was reminded that the rezone petition is addressed in county ordinance and discussed the word "shall" as opposed to "may." The board was asked to follow its own ordinance.
A horse farm next to the proposed quarry was represented by an attorney who told the board "you are the deciders."
"You only approve rezoning if it meets your criteria," the attorney said. "The Town of Brigham has asked you to turn this down."
A resident near the proposed site said she has spent considerable time fighting to keep the area from becoming an eyesore. She said the area is the gateway to the township and should be preserved.
In a closed session the Supervisors discussed their options on handling the zoning matter and heard from their attorney. They came out of closed session and took no action on the matter, thus it dies unless it goes to litigation.
Further Business
After public comment the board approved a land use change from the town of Moscow. that changes a parcel from A1 agriculture to AR 1 ag residential.
County Administrator Larry Bierke called attention to handouts he provided which includes questions board members asked about the proposed Law Enforcement Center in answer to a request he had made and the anticipated tax impact if it is approved.
The board approved a two year term for Michael Britt to the Bloomfield Commission and the appointment of David Morzenti as Iowa County Corporation Counsel starting June 1.
Under planning and zoning the board approved a resolution to have the highway department continue the regional waterborne pavement marking installation program. The debarment marks pavement throughout the region and is reimbursed for it.
A resolution to hold a public referendum to increase the county levy for highway maintenance received considerable discussion.
Supervisor Leix told the board he feels it is unfair to take highway repair money from the property tax and that the state should use the gas tax to help. Bierke answered saying most around the table would feel that way but unfortunately that is not the way it works with the state.
Supervisor Griffiths said he would like to see what we expect operating costs for the proposed new law enforcement center will be before he votes for anything that would increase taxes.
Bierke explained how the county gets aide for bridges, etc and chairman Meyers said the county is far behind in most road repair.
Highway Commissioner Craig Hardy painted a grim picture of over 50 miles of poor roads that are beyond repair in the county. He said ideally 40 miles of road should receive upkeep every year or the county will fall further behind.
Supervisor Benish said a good infrastructure promotes growth and wealth in a county. He said the idea that taxpayers will receive a proposed rebate from a surplus is absurd.
"It should go into roads," he said. "Contact your representatives and let them know how you feel."
Benish added that the county will not be increasing the levy without taxpayer approval from the voters under the proposed resolution.
Supervisor Deal said he feels the jail project should be addressed first and the numbers should be in place before considering the proposed resolution. He made a motion to postpone discussion until July.
Supervisor Gollon said he feels the wheel tax should apply to big trucks, farm equipment and bikes. He added that the percentage of the budget going for roads is less today than 20 years ago.
"We have created some of the problem ourselves and we need to go to the people with this," he said.
Supervisor Davis asked if there would be enough time to educate the public on what they are voting on if the matter is delayed.
"November is only a few months from July," she said.
Bierke said figures from the state would be available in the final stages in August.
The board voted to postpone 15-3.
The board discussed and approved several draft policies and cleaned up some language per suggestions from Supervisor O'Brien.
A resolution for compensation for the Register of Deeds, Treasurer and County Clerk was introduced and discussed. Supervisor Gollon said he feels the salary is on the low side for what the county is looking at for what is required.
Supervisor Storti said the people in those positions were present when salary proposals were discussed.
Meyers said a new board will be seated in April and this should be taken care of before that.
A vote on the proposal was approved.
The board learned that Bloomfield did well in a recent assessment with only two items they were asked to correct. Supervisor Bruce Paull said the assessment was finished a day ahead of schedule because Bloomfield was prepared.
Supervisor Joan Davis was saluted as a Kohl Finalist as an educator in the Dodgeville school district.
Supervisor Nankey discussed the state of the UW Extension program and said it is in good shape.

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