Meeting Minutes

Floyd County Board of Supervisors Meeting

May 9, 2011, 9:00 AM


The Floyd County Board of Supervisors met for workshop at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, May 9, 2011 in the Board Room of the Floyd County Courthouse with the following in attendance:  Chairman Dunkel, Supv Kamm, and Supv. Kuhn.

Kamm/Kuhn moved to approve the agenda as presented.  Motion carried 3-0.

The Board will review claims individually after the meeting.

Supv Kamm updated the Board on the Communications Center and E911 Commission meetings and discussed the security system box owned by Bill Cavanaugh.  Supv Dunkel attended a NIVC meeting and discussed the work programs offered to clients.  Supv Dunkel also attended a FMC Landfill meeting and discussed the new workshop building and the need for tower for radios to work.  Supv Kuhn attended an RC&D meeting and mentioned that the agency has lost all of its funding as well as their executive director.  RC&D will continue to operate as a 501.c.3.  Records and furniture from the office have been stored and quarterly meetings will be held at the United Methodist Church, Waverly.

Bob Lincoln, CPC/Case Management Director, discussed with the Board a family member of a deceased person who signed a contract with a funeral home and later learned of the county burial assistance program and is requesting the county to assist financially with the burial.  The Board will act on this at tomorrow’s meeting.

Jeff Sherman, Zoning/E911 Addressing/Sanitarian Director, discussed doing building inspections for the county.  The office has been working on a “healthy homes” grant that could tie in with inspections.  Before Sherman disposes of the county vehicle, he wanted to make sure there were no other needs for the vehicle if they added responsibilities to the department.  No action will be taken with building inspections at this time. 

Sherman asked if the Board was interested in him taking on review of drainage district issues.  The Board will visit with the County Engineer at tomorrow’s regular meeting.

The Auditor provided a letter from Bob Brinton, drainage district attorney, regarding the review of the drainage agreement concerning the creation of a drainage district in Rudd Township.  Brinton writes that the agreement is adequate for the trustees to establish the district.  The Board will wait to receive a petition from property owners.                                

Sherman informed the Board that FEMA is considering redoing flood maps in Charles City as well as some areas around Charles City.  Pending funding available, FEMA has requested the county’s preference on which direction for surrounding areas for FEMA to study.  The Board will leave this up to Sherman to determine.

The Board noted that Floyd County Search and Rescue will be holding Business After Hours event tomorrow in the city lot adjacent to the river, south of City Hall.

The Board noted the resignation of Lindsey Franke, Deputy Sheriff, effective May 19.  Supv Dunkel will visit with the Sheriff about payout of compensation, vacation, random, and holiday hours.  The Board noted the hiring of Matt Lovik, Deputy Sheriff, as of May 20. 

Bridget Edson, Emergency Management Director, updated the Board with 28E issues with the E911 Service Agreement, board representation and quorum concerns at the last meeting.

The Board noted the Clerk of Court fees collected in the amount of $5,264.62 in April.

The Auditor expects to receive a bid from Quade Construction this afternoon for the north sidewalk area.

Future Agenda Items:  employee handbook

Kuhn/Kamm moved to recess at 10:33 a.m.  Motion carried 3-0.  Kamm/Kuhn moved to reconvene the meeting at 7 p.m. at the Rockford City Hall.  Motion carried 3-0.

Chairman Dunkel introduced Supv Kuhn who presented the purpose of the meeting to listen to the public about any issues with the Rockford dam.  Doug Schroeder, Conservation Director, introduced Bill Kalishek, Fisheries Biologist, and Nate Hoogeveen, River Programs Coordinator, both representing the DNR, and Sara Strassman, representing American Rivers. 

Kalishek presented information on the typical fish in the Shell Rock River, including Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, and Channel Catfish, movement of fish from winter to summer to habitats needed to survive and spawn and benefits of allowing fish to move further with less dams. 

Hoogeveen works with water trails, kayak programs, hydrology issues, sedimentation when dams are breached, recirculation issues, structural problems, safety issues and with respect to removal of dams, options such as simple removal of entire structures, staged removal over a period of time, and restorations.  Characteristics of the river and the dam include the river covering 470 sq miles, the Rockford dam is 170 feet wide and has an eight 8 ft high hydraulic height, the area has active moving rocky substrate, taller rock outcrops, increasing fishing habitat, angling areas, public trail options, and limited sediment.  Removal of the dam would cost an estimated $40,000 to $80,000 pending on needs such as structural engineering to review of mill-side abutment, removal/hauling of dam, plantings, boat ramp extension, and limited natural bank stabilization; anything else would increase the cost.  To replace the dam would cost an estimated $1.2 million and fixing the dam brings with it more scrutiny. 

Strassman shared information on American Rivers, a national non-profit agency with interest in river conservation and their efforts to help communities identify what to expect, initial decision making processes, project planning, regulatory review, implementation and technical, regulatory, ecological, economic, and social issues that evolve around the process.  Samples of before and after pictures where dams were removed were provided.

The east half of the dam is owned by Zerans and west half is owned by the County.  Supv Kuhn has been in contact with Mrs. Zeran’s attorney and the County Attorney and it looks like everything is in place for the county to purchase the Zeran property except for clarification of the legal description which is being resolved.  Hoogeveen commented that both parties received letters from John Garton, DNR Safety Coordinator, regarding the status of the failed dam and the need to breach it.  Supv Dunkel commented that he and the previous two supervisors held off breaching the dam until they could research grant opportunities to fund it otherwise.  Kuhn commented that without full ownership of the dam the county has fewer opportunities to get funding to help remedy the problem.  The County would rather not breach the dam without full ownership.  There was no response to Supv Kamm’s question of residents or the city of Rockford taking over ownership of the dam.  The County continues to own the property unless opportunities would arise to transfer it after the issues were resolved. 

Hoogeveen commented that during the removal of the dam, if that is the course of action, there would likely be a ripple effect and a rise in the river downstream.  Ideally the project would be done at fairly low water flow levels where you would not see much difference other than the color of the water.  Strassman commented that percussion hammers, backhoes and one or two equipment operators do the removal of the dam.  A structural engineer would assess the area for damage if hammers are used and any negative effects of removal.  Wooden structures generally come out pretty easy.  Explosives would not be necessary for a dam like the Rockford dam and explosives are rarely used for low head dam removals.   Kalishek stated that the Corp of Engineers provided a list of things, nothing insurmountable, that need to be done for permitting and removal of the dam.  

Kalishek informed attendees on the process of collecting data by using pins to probe various areas to determine depth and sedimentation areas up and down stream.  Hoogeveen addressed questions regarding sediment, silting and water levels.  Surveillance of points of the area were studied to project what would happen if dam was removed and the study resulted in looking like sedimentation would not be an issue.  Hoogeveen said there is not much sedimentation buildup where if there were they would look at issues with stabilizing homes or dredging out properties but in this situation there is no need to dredge out properties north of the dam and the water would go lower but the silt would have a gradual release. 

After removal, Hoogeveen explained that there would be some washout above the dam but what tends to happen is a narrow channel forms and then widens and materials start to vegetate.  The bank on the campground side above the dam now would be farther out.  About a mile above and the area below the dam you would not see much change.  Near the dam area there would be ripples from the current rock base.  Hoogeveen believes if the dam were taken out it would be very scenic.  Kalishek commented that there should be improvements with the fish life between the Nora Springs and Greene dams.  Schroeder affirmed that if removal happens, the Conservation staff and board look at this as a “big picture” project and will make sure the river channel is as good as it can be, enhance the surrounding area, and guarantee they would work with the city of Rockford for access and recreation. 

If the dam failed, the DNR safety coordinator suggested there could be a three feet rise in water downstream.  When questioned what the river would be like without the dam in a flood situation like in 2008, Hoogeveen suggested the effect would likely have been the same due to high-end flooding where the area has already been submerged in water and “tail water” would have risen where you would see upstream flooding. 

Comments were made about the railroad bridge restricting water flow.  Hoogeveen stated that they have not looked at that part of the project but if rocks are placed in the current dam area, there is a chance in a big flood that they could end up at the railroad bridge and there need to be plans for future maintenance. 

Other dam projects in the area were discussed.  The riverfront project in Charles City was funded through grant programs, not by County funds.  The low-head dam safety project on the Turkey River/Vernon Springs near Cresco has an arch rapids area that did not include the removal of the dam and cost $350,000 funded from various agencies, grants and donations.  They are finding at Vernon Springs that they should have excavated more material out as now the county is paying for replacing rocks.  Lake Delhi is a $20-25 million project.  At the Clarksville dam stone boulders were grouted with concrete and a part was poured in as a shoot, more or less to get canoes on the mill side. Fish ladders have been put in at some dams but the water in our area is too fast.  Supv Kuhn commented that he has visited several dams where they found ways to fix the problems in those areas.  Hoogeveen commented that the DNR inspector wrote that the Rockford dam is “in a state of failure”, unlike the other dams and there is no current funding available to cover project costs. 

Several comments from the public suggested to not breach or remove the dam but rather fill the dam with a big boulder or lots of rock for a small cost and see if the dam holds and if that would be considered as a reinforced dam.  A suggestion of using the concrete from the replacement of the Rockford bridge was countered with the concrete not being acceptable to use.  Previous owner, Robert Lohr, commented that when he owned the dam, the same type of thing happened many times and he had success with filling the holes with boulders every time.  Approximately half of the audience member’s hands went up when an audience member asked if the people of Rockford would like to see the dam repaired the way it was for $100,000.  Hoogeveen stated that putting rocks in the hole would be a temporary solution and would not be considered as a reinforced dam.  He was involved with a project where a hole was filled and received a call on the weekend that it pushed through and questioned if people with their hands up would keep their hands up when the costs reach higher numbers.   The structure is regulated and rebuilding would require design by a qualified engineer to “stamp” it as structurally sound.  Portland cement has a life of about 50 years.  Breaching is a temporary measure although you could see what the river looks like a couple years after breaching.  Supv Dunkel spoke about the county receiving notice from our insurance company regarding liability, possibly being uninsurable or paying a higher premium, the letter from the DNR with the position that filling the hole is not a viable option, and that several years ago there was grant money tagged for a dam removal project and river beautification but it didn’t go through because of a community effort.  Schroeder commented that last fall when the water was going beneath the dam, there was exposed chicken wire, irregularities and compromises in the structure and he believes fixing one hole doesn’t fix the problem.  Hoogeveen referenced the DNR Safety Director’s letter that read to get on a fast path to do something or the county would not be in compliance and believes it is a better option to take the low head dam out for safety reasons as 1.5 people per year drown at low head dams. 

At this point, the community is at a decision point.  The Board has $17,500 budgeted for FY12 and will have to figure out where to come up with the rest of the money.  Supv Dunkel thanked everyone for coming and inform the public that the Board has a public comment time period at the beginning of Tuesday Board meetings. 

Kamm/ Kuhn motioned to adjourn.  Motion carried 3-0.


ATTEST:  _________________________________             ____________________________________

            Gloria A. Carr                                                            Warren K. Dunkel, Chair

            Floyd County Auditor   Floyd County Board of Supervisor


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