Supervisors Respond To Cities Letter On Engineering

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The Mahaska County Board of Supervisors met in regular session on Monday, August 5, 2019, at 9 am in the 3rd-floor conference room.

The Board approved a 28E agreement with the city of Beacon for police protection. Beacon agreed to contract 83 hours of police protection for the year from Mahaska County and fulfilled by the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office. Total due to the county is $3486.00.

The Supervisors signed Resolution 2019-33 that Dakota Access, LLC informed the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors that construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline was mechanically completed on May 15, 2017.

Iowa Code requires that the Board of Supervisors determine when construction of the pipeline is complete for the purposes of landowners petitioning the Board of Supervisors for a compensation commission to determine damages arising from construction of the pipeline.

The Board approved the resolution stating that construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline has been completed to satisfy Iowa Code.

The Board then considered a response letter to the city of Oskaloosa and the city of Pella in regards to the mitigation of 220th Street which would be impacted by the new regional airport.

The two cities are proposing to hire another engineer. According to Mahaska County Supervisor Chair Mark Groenendyk, they asked that the county also be involved with a new engineer, versus using the county engineering department.

Mahaska County Supervisor Steve Wanders said that the County response to the Cities is to work through the County attorneys.

The Board approved the motion 3-0 to send the letter of response back to the two cities.

The Board then went into closed session per request from the Mahaska County Attorney.

The next regular meeting of the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors is August 19, 2019, at 9:00 am.

The text of the two letters is as follows:

———-

County Response To The Cities

August 5, 2019

Mike Nardini City Administrator PO Box 88 Pella, Iowa 50219
Michael Schrock City Manager 220 S Market St Oskaloosa, IA 52577

RE: Proposal to Jointly-Acquire Engineer to Assist on Identifying the Section of Road to Replace 220th Street in the Farm-to Market Road System

Dear Mr. Nardini and Mr. Schrock:
We write in response to your correspondence dated July 24, 2019, in which you requested jointly retaining an engineer to provide guidance on the best options for replacing 220th Street in the farm-to-market road system.

As an initial matter, we point out that you have mischaracterized Supervisor Mark Groenendyk’s deposition testimony from October 17, 2018. He did not testify that he was “in favor of the construction of the Regional Airport on Site A and closing 220th Street.” Instead, he testified that he could support the project only if (1) eminent domain is not used to acquire land; (2) proper mitigation for the relocation of 220th Street is provided; and (3) Mahaska County general fund moneys will not be used to build or maintain the airport. (Groenendyk Depo. at 31-33, 113-114).

With respect to your request to jointly retain an engineer, Mahaska County has no financial obligation under the 28E Agreement. Oskaloosa, Pella, and the SCRAA, therefore, may retain an engineer or engineers at their own expense to consult with mitigation options. Mahaska County, however, will not be contributing to the costs. Please let us know when your engineer has provided you with options for relocating 220th Street so that we can have a work session to go over them.

We take this opportunity to remind you that our 28E Agreement specifically requires “Oskaloosa and Pella to work with Mahaska County in good faith to resolve road relocations which may be required.” (Article XII, § 1). This agreement now has been in effect for over seven years. Your lawsuit also has been pending for nearly two years. Yet, neither Oskaloosa, Pella, nor the SCRAA has provided us with a plan to relocate 220th Street. Nonetheless, the SCRAA has moved forward to acquire land. To be blunt, that is not acting in “good faith.” Further, it is not reasonable to expect Mahaska County to participate in the 28E Agreement when Oskaloosa and Pella are not honoring it. Accordingly, we reiterate our demand that you immediately provide us with a plan to relocate 220th Street as required under the Site A proposal.

———-

The Initial Letter From Oskaloosa And Pella To Mahaska County

July 24, 2019

Mahaska County Board of Supervisors Mahaska County Courthouse 1 st Floor, East Side 106 South 1st Street Oskaloosa, IA 52577

Re: Proposal to Jointly-Acquire Engineer to Assist on Identifying the Section of Road to Replace 220th Street in the Farm-to-Market Road System

Dear Messrs. Groenendyk, Parker, and Wanders:

This letter is a follow-up to our last meeting on April 15, 2019. We are very pleased that the County agreed in its July 1, 2013 letter to SCRAA to construct the Regional Airport on Site A and close 220th Street, so long as there was proper mitigation for the road closure. These views were confirmed by Mr. Groenendyk in his sworn deposition testimony in October 2018, where he stated he was in favor of the construction of the Regional Airport on Site A and closing 220th Street.

Based upon the County’s prior statements that it supports the construction of the Regional Airport on Site A, SCRAA has recently begun acquiring the land necessary for the Airport. In order to capitalize on this recent progress and to continue moving towards resolving this issue, the Cities believe it would be beneficial to jointly obtain an engineer to assist the partners in this project. The Cities believe that in the highly-technical and nuanced area of farm-to-market roads, an experienced engineer will assist greatly in providing guidance on the best option(s) to identify the section of road to replace 220th Street in the farm-to-market road system. Because Mahaska County splits its engineer with another County, and because the County Engineer is busy with numerous projects and responsibilities for both Counties he serves, the Cities believe it would be best to jointly obtain a different engineer who will have more time to devote to this issue. The Cities believe that the following individuals would make excellent choices to assist on the 220th Street issue:

1. Brian Morrissey—Retired Marion County, Madison County, and Department of Transportation Engineer

2. John Goode—Retired Monroe County Engineer

3. Royce Fictner —Retired Marshall County Engineer

4. Brian Moore Retired Wappello County Engineer

5. Danny Wade—Retired Hamilton County Engineer

The Cities would appreciate it if the Board could respond to the Cities’ proposal within two weeks. In addition, the Cities would also like to schedule a meeting in August to continue discussions on 220th Street and would appreciate if the Board would provide potential dates in August for a meeting to be scheduled.
Sincerely,

Mike Nardini
Mike Schrock

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