Courthouse Roof Repair Discussions Continue

Mahaska County Board of Supervisors for August 4, 2014

Mahaska County Board of Supervisors on August 4, 2014

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The Mahaska County Board of Supervisors met Monday morning to discuss a fairly short agenda.

The discussion about repairs to the Mahaska County Courthouse roof continued from previous meetings. The roof was damaged by the severe thunderstorm at the end of April, and since that time, the Supervisors have not found a roofing solution to facilitate the repair. Since that time, the front entrance had to be closed, temporarily, until the damaged tiling was removed, but a disagreement among the Supervisors continues over the repairs and the materials to be used.

The current roof was installed in 1999 at a cost of $130,000. Current damage repair costs are approximately $20,0000, and that amount would be covered by insurance.

“I won’t authorize putting this stuff [clay tile] back on. I think it’s a poor product and we’ve had three incidents this Spring, just this Spring, where it’s flown off, and I think it’s incredibly dangerous and I think our insurance company kind of agrees,” Vander Molen said at the May 14th special meeting of the Board of Supervisors.  He said that now that the county is aware of the risk, he can’t support putting it back on the roof.

So the County Board of Supervisors then decided, at their May 22nd meeting, to hire a consultant to look at the roof.

Mahaska County Supervisor Mike Vander Molen received the report concerning the roof on August 2nd, but is still waiting for cost estimates.

Vander Molen opened up Monday’s discussion with, “There is the question whether those tiles we have can ever be made safe, even if we redo fasteners.” Vander Molen added that the report included recommendations for other materials, including a plastic system or a Decra Roofing System.

Vander Molen said that cost estimates are scheduled to be released during the week. Vander Molen said that a decision and hiring of a contractor needs to take place before winter arrives.

The County is also looking to update their current ordinance code book, which current Mahaska County Attorney Charles Stream has been updating since shortly after taking the position. The adoption of the updated ordinance book is scheduled for August 18th, after voting on a potential tax abatement for a wind farm project.

The Supervisors also authorized Julie Bak to negotiate, on behalf of the county, the hiring of the community services director. “I’m comfortable with letting her negotiate,” said Supervisor Mark Doland. Wages for the position are to be in line with what is currently offered, not to exceed $16 per-hour. “That would be the high-end of the negotiations,” said Vander Molen.

The IT needs of the county were discussed. Vander Molen said he was preparing a request for proposal on the IT needs of the County. This potential move could also involve the Sheriffs Office, Emergency Management, “pretty much everybody wants to be included,” said Vander Molen. Vander Molen said that the subject of the county hiring an in-house IT person to serve the county versus utilizing outside IT services is being discussed. Vander Molen said that having in-house IT could potentially increase confidentiality and responsiveness.

Supervisor Greg Gordy suggested looking at the past budgetary expenditures to see if hiring a full-time person for the county would be in line with what current expenses are. “I think part of the difficulty is we treat Brian [Knudtson] like our IT person, and he’s really not. He’s our GIS person,” said Vander Molen.

“I’m open to the idea,” said Supervisor Mark Doland.

A department head meeting will take place to discuss what the preferences will be concerning the County IT needs.

The next scheduled meeting of the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors is August 18, 2014 at 9am.

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