Clearing logjam will cost county $31,750
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
Henry County will be paying $31,750 for Batey Limited to clean up the logjam on the Skunk River by Oakland Mills.
Batey’s was the low bid out of the three received by the board of supervisors on Thursday morning. The other two bids came from Maddy Tree Service for $38,150 to clear up the jam and burn the logs on site or $52,100 to remove the debris and haul it to the county quarry.
Batey Limited will be burning the logs at the site, but there is also the option to grind up some of the logs to be used as mulch or as playground material, but this will cost extra.
The start date for clearing the jam is still to be determined, because County Engineer Bill Belzer is waiting to hear if the county will get any funding from the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to pay for the cleanup.
Belzer had previously requested NRCS funding for the logjam, but the request was turned down.
“Because there was debris in a photo from a couple years ago, they said they wouldn’t help us,” said Belzer.
However, Belzer told the supervisors that he has sent in a second request saying that crews had cleaned up some of the logs last year when they painted the road bridge. He also noted the damage to the conservation department’s campground that was caused by the jam.
Belzer said it will probably take a week or more to hear back from NRCS, and he is hoping for funding to pay for 75-80 percent of the cost.
However, even if the county does not get funding from NRCS, the county will still go forward with the work.
“We need to get rid of it; it’s causing damage,” said Belzer. noting that the jam is the largest he’s ever seen and that “the debris down there is huge.”
Although the jam is located on the southwest side of the bridge on Highway 55, Belzer said he is not concerned about any potential damage to the bridge.
“The foundation of the bridge itself is on rock,” said Belzer. “I don’t see the logs being a problem to the bridge itself, but I do see them being a problem for the shoreline, conservation (department) and maybe even the utilities.”
There are two fiber optic and a copper telephone wire running under the bridge.
In other business, the supervisors met with County CPC (central point of coordination) Sarah Kaufman and reviewed a draft of the 28E agreement for the mental health region being formed in Southeast Iowa, tentatively named Six Keys Regional Access.
“You want it (the 28E) to be narrow enough that it defines structure, but broad enough that it allows a second set of bylaws,” said Kaufman.
She noted that the draft 28E is based off of the template they were given but also incorporates changes to make the six counties’ CPCs comfortable with the content of the agreement.
“I think we just need to get it out to the board of supervisors for their comments,” said Kaufman.
The supervisors and CPCs of the six counties will be meeting in Washington next week to work on the region.
In addition to Henry County, the region includes Washington, Lee, Louisa, Des Moines and Keokuk counties.