Photo by Wendy Davis

County board management services committeeman Kevin Bohlmann listens as maintenance supervisor Chris Drake gives suggestions on what is needed for his department to do snow removal and salting at the county’s buildings.

The plan is to take snow removal at the Iroquois County buildings back in house.

This was decided at Wednesday’s county board management services committee meeting after receiving just one bid to do the work. It was from Omni Property Services, John Turner the CEO, out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The bid’s pricing started with a flat $19,500 and had a per snow occurrence cost of $474 for 1-4 inches of snow, $924 for 6-8 inches of snow and $350 per additional inch. Salt application was priced at $266 and $350, depending on the type of spread.

“It would have to be sublet, and then do we agree with the subletter?” asked committeeman Kevin Bohlmann.

Taking the work back in house has been tossed around as an option for several months. Last year, the cost to the county for snow removal was $5,000 in November and December and it was about $14,000 for the months of January and February. The county’s maintenance department once did the work, but several years ago, the board sold its equipment and chose to bid the work out to save money.

The first steps were taken to begin doing the work again.

The committee approved buying a 2006 F250 with a V-plow from the county’s highway department for $7,000.

It also approved letting maintenance supervisor Chris Drake buy a snow blower, allowing him to spend up to $2,500.

Two other big issues remain: manpower and salt.

“It’s not a one-man job,” said Drake.

The committee is still trying to decide on how much to pay an individual who could either be an on-call employee, hired as a part time employees in a newly created position, or independent contractor. Committee member Sherry Johnson said states attorney Jim Devine needs to be consulted when it comes labeling this person’s role.

Drake said he doesn’t need another maintenance employee who would work full time and all year. He said what’s needed is someone reliable and able to work when called.

The wage is still being determined. As Drake pointed out, paying someone $30 an hour per occurrence if there’s 30 snows, the cost to the county would still just be less than what it paid last year.

As for salt, Drake said he bought a pallet, which was 62-40 pound bags, for $252 last year at Big R. He said he would check to see if he could still get similar pricing at Stock+Field or anywhere else.

Later, Drake gave his maintenance report, and he gave the building efficiencies update.

“Everything seems to be working great,” he said about Smart Watt’s work on the building efficiencies. “We’ll see if the cost savings will be what they expected.”

He said the chiller swap at the courthouse will be done the last week of September.

The LED lighting changes have been completed at the administrative center, and there’s just about 20 percent left to be done at the courthouse. He said there have been a few issues with the supplier.

Drake said tree work will be done at the administrative center in the next few days, weather permitting.

He said the fire alarm at the administrative center has been recertified.

The courthouse roof has been completed. It needs certification for the warranty to be effective.

He said a new injector pump at the courthouse/jail was installed, replacing the original one which was 55 years old, at a price of about $8,900.

Under farm management issues, committeeman John Zumwalt and Bohlmann have been looking at the waterway on the county farm.

Zumwalt said a repair needs to be made on a few acres off of Route 1, south of the county farm house.

“Off the highway definitely needs attention,” said Bohlmann. He said the east end needs to be done the most, and the land can still be farmed around it.

He said he’s talked with soil and water conservation district’s Thad Eshleman and the cost estimate is “a little more than needs to be done”.

Behrends said someone needs to get a scope of what work needs to be done before putting the job out to bid. The cost is expected to be less than $30,000, which is the amount that is required to be put to bid.

Also, it was pointed out, the cost would be all on the county unless the tenant, Walker Farms, did it. Then, he said, it could be eligible for cost share. He said someone needs to confirm this to be true.

In other issues,

— There was nothing to report on the proposed solar project the county had been approached to do with Citrine. Behrends said another company has approached the county to do a similar project, but this one would include the highway department building, as well. The terms of the current contract need to looked at to see if there’s any wording regarding a timeline to get work going or dealing with communication between the two entities. A request will be sent to Citrine asking for status of the project be given to the board by Sept. 27.

— The committee approved the rental amounts for the offices inside the administrative center. The amounts all working toward the end result of in the next three years each office paying the same amount in square footage.