Courthouse generator plans approved

The Monroe County Board of Commissioners on Monday approved plans for installing a 400-kilowatt electric generator to sustain operations at the courthouse in an emergency situation.

Monroe County Engineer Aaron Metzger and Monroe County Emergency Management Director Ryan Weber provided details and fielded questions. The generator was originally funded by EMA money that became available in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist disaster.

Monroe County Board Chairman Delbert Wittenauer said this acquisition was a priority.

“We had a generator capable of meeting about half of the power needs of the building, but not enough to sustain full operations in an emergency.  This one was made available to us and it meets all of the current and projected future needs,” he said.

A concrete pad and enclosure wall will be installed, and a transfer switch installed to enable power to flow from the trailer-mounted generator into the courthouse.

Huebner Concrete will install the concrete pad for an amount not to exceed $27,000.  Gilbert Electric of Fults will perform the electrical hook-up for a cost not to exceed $17,000. The county will provide materials, such as wire. Fitzgibbons Contracting of Waterloo will install county-supplied materials for the retaining wall for $7,649.

Upon completion and installation, Monroe County will accept responsibility to maintain and run the generator periodically.

“If you buy a generator and never run it, it won’t run when you need it,” Wittenauer said.

If the generator is needed for an emergency elsewhere, it can be requested, but Wittenauer said he gets the final vote on that.

“If we don’t need it, of course we’ll share. We also have other generators that we might enter into a situation, too,” he added.

Contracts have been approved and work is expected to start shortly.

Three proclamations were signed by the commissioners: The first proclaimed the week of Oct. 5-11 as National 4-H Week in Monroe County.  Next, the commissioners proclaimed the Month of October as Violence Prevention Month. Finally, the board proclaimed the week of Oct. 13-17 as Monroe County Home and Community Education Week.  Commissioners were told of the group’s work to strengthen families and of a cultural enrichment program Thursday, Oct. 16, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the History Museum of Monroe County in Waterloo.

County zoning officer Mike Fausz next provided information on a cell tower to be installed near the Lake of the Woods development between Waterloo and Hecker. The work, approved by the board, will initially support Verizon cell services but is designed to carry three more providers.

Mark Schmersahl of Beneflex HR resources, which administers the county’s Flexible Spending Account medical plan, described a recent change in federal law that makes the plan more flexible for users.

Under the plan, individuals who wish to do so may set aside pre-tax dollars to be used for medical expenses such as copays or others that may not be covered. The old plan put a time limit on the funds.  If they were not used within 2.5 months of the end of the year, they were lost.

The new plan allows an individual to preserve $500 at the end of the year for as long as they remain employed. The county was required to move one direction or another, and elected to shift to the plan to preserve up to $500 versus the time-limited plan.

County highway engineer Aaron Metzger sought and received approval to replace the county’s mower tractor with a John Deere 6105M tractor through Wm. Nobbe for $43,632.59.  The country is recouping $18,500 from trade-in of its 12-year-old John Deere 6420.

The board approved Metzger’s request to purchase as needed in the coming year, gasoline and bio-diesel fuel for county use from the following: Energy Petroleum Company, Gateway FS, R&M Oil & Supply and Select Propane and Fuel.

Finally, the board was told that the road district has rejected a request to take over maintenance of the Lake Ronnie Road.  The petition was denied due to easement issues.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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