Monroe County Sheriff Dan Johnson requested the Board of Supervisors get involved in communicating with Cargill Biotech Center about parking semi-trailer trucks on County Line Road T61.

According to Sheriff Johnson, his office was called around 10 a.m. last Friday with drivers reporting up to 15 semi-trailer trucks using the traveled portion of T61 as a staging area to unload the semis. Cargill had announced a higher than market value purchase of corn on Friday and numerous farmers took advantage of the deal.

The sheriff said it was clear there wasn’t a lot of thought or planning involved in receiving the grain and a line of semi-trucks were parked on the highway, creating a serious traffic hazard.

Sheriff Johnson said his office wasn’t notified of the grain sale, which left the highway with no traffic control. He was eventually joined by a deputy from Wapello County and the trucks eventually made their way off the roadway.

“They need to figure this out if they’re going to do it again,” said Johnson. “Had they organized their employee parking, there probably would have been room to get the semis off the highway. They could have used the pavement west of the plant and reroute the trucks into the unloading area.

“We also needed to be notified a couple of days in advance so we could get people in place to do traffic control,” he added. “They just need a plan.”

Johnson asked the supervisors to write a letter to Cargill describing the problem. Supervisor Chairman Denny Amoss said he would first place a call to Cargill head Craig Ambrose. “We’ve always had a good working relationship with Cargill,” said Amoss. “I’ll make the call and see where that goes. I’m sure we can work it out.”

The board was also notified by Monroe County Engineer Jeremiah Selby that the 28E sharing contract with Mahaska County for his services needed to be officially terminated. Selby said Mahaska County has been without a county engineer since December of 2018 and he agreed to help thinking he would be needed no longer than March of 2019. “I told them that they needed another plan by August,” he said. “Fortunately, Keokuk County’s engineer has agreed to come on board as they continue to look for their own engineer.”

Selby said he continued longer than he wanted because the county was involved in a federal road building project and he didn’t want to leave them high and dry. Selby did most of the work for Mahaska County after hours or by using vacation time.

The supervisors accepted the only landscaping proposal for around the courthouse from VandenBerg Family Greenhouse. Russ VandenBerg attended the meeting to explain his proposal, which included 107 total plants, all of which will grow no taller than 2-3 feet. He offered one price for red cedar mulch at $9,875 and another (same plants) for $13,075 using a rock covering.

Supervisors, along with courthouse custodian Ray Vitko Jr., agreed that the mulch would be preferable to rock. VandenBerg said he would offer an eight percent replacement guarantee on the plants. He also said he would be bringing in any skid loaders or heavy equipment.

The board accepted the $9,875 plan which Vitko said was within the budget guidelines set earlier for the project.

The board held a public hearing to consider the ChargePoint Express 200 electric car filling station on two parking spaces on the southwest corner of the square. There was no one at the meeting to speak about the proposal. The board will have on its agenda next week the approval of the installation.

The board also approved a bridge inspection and rating contract from Calhoun-Burns and Associates. Costs in the past to do t he federally mandated inspections have ranged from $13,800 for 63 bridges to $14,980 for 72 bridges. Calhoun-Burns has been doing the inspections for many years for the county.

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