BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
MONTROSE – A county shed in Argyle has been the source of some debate at county supervisor’s meetings of late, and now supervisor’s are putting together costs of a constructing a new shed.
The building is located near several residences in the area of 294th Street in Argyle, including Ron and Laurie Burchett, and Ella Humes.
At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Lee County Board of Supervisors, supervisors directed County Engineer Ernie Steffensmeier to get costs on constructing another maintenance shed on county property at Ambrosia Lane, just east of Argyle near 195th Avenue.
Steffensmeier has had a new maintenance building in the budget proposals for the past two years, but both times the project was nixed due to budget constraints. Steffensmeier said in lieu of a new building, he needed to keep the shed for storage. The building is in need of repair and mowing of the property has been being done by area residents, most recently the Burchetts.
At a meeting two weeks ago, Argyle resident Shelley Pruin said the couple has spent close to $11,000 in mowing the property.
Supervisor Matt Pflug told Steffensmeier that the county was to take over all maintenance of the property immediately. Repairs have been made to the building that shed which houses some county equipment including a bulldozer. A hole in the wall and a door that had fallen off have been repaired in the past two weeks.
There is also a dog enclosure on the county property and a garden sits on part of the county property as well. Supervisors want Lee County Attorney Ross Braden to look into the matter.
“We don’t want anyone taking care of county property other than county employees,” Supervisor Gary Folluo said.
Pflug asked Steffensmeier how the county had allowed private residents to maintain the property. Steffensmeier said the maintenance was under the assumption that the property was owned by Argyle Sanitary District.
“We knew that wasn’t our property, but we didn’t know if, I guess the Argyle Sanitary District was dissolved.”
County Auditor Denise Fraise said the district hadn’t been dissolved and, in actuality, no one would step up to sit on the district board for budgeting purposes and former county attorney Mike Short established that the Supervisors would serve in that capacity.
Supervisor Ron Fedler said the building’s future will have to be discussed at budget time in January, but funding will dictate what the board will be able to afford. He said no one shows up with the county is doing budgeting.
Pruin said she appreciated the county boarding up the building.
“But boarding this up doesn’t fix the eyesore that it is for our residential community.
Steffensmeier said that’s why he’s asked the board to give the maintenance department funds to build a new facility.
“There’s been more traffic there in the last two weeks then in the past two years I’ve been there, and in the past 12 years since Ron’s been there..”
She said the edge of the building sits right on their property line. Steffensmeier said his department has a survey of the building and it may be a half a foot to a foot over the line.
“That building was built in 1935 and at that time, maybe that’s all the better they could do it, as far as a boundary,” he said.
Ron Burchett said he figured a new building that size could be built at cost of between $7,000 and $10,000.
Steffensmeier said he would like to have a new maintenance storage facility on one of the other county owned maintenance properties, but short of that, he wants to keep the shed for storage.
He said the building could be retinned for about $10,000.
“I would suggest you get some numbers together and if we’ve got room on Ambrosia Lane, get some figures for these people on what’s going to transpire in the next two to three months,” Folluo said. “If you’re going to save $10,000 on tinning it, we can put that together for the building. Something has to be done with the building. Either make it presentable or make plans to move.”
In other action, supervisors approved:
• pavement widening projects from X23 from Hwy 2 to West Point; J40 from Hwy. 27 to West Point; W62 from 340th Street to Hwy 61; and resurfacing with cold-in place recycling on J48 from J40 to Hwy. 61. The widening projects include a 2-foot paved shoulder on the roads with rumble strips. The money comes from federal Swap and Highway Safety Improvement Program (HISP) funds. Swap funds are state dollars the Iowa Department of Transportation distributes to Iowa counties and cities in place of federal road and bridge money.
• approved a realignment with the Fort Madison and Keokuk housing authorities to better align services being provided. Fort Madison will maintain 24 of the housing properties in Fort Madison, and Keokuk will maintain 16 in Keokuk.
• approved bids to repair the steps and a remodeling project for the Lee County Attorney’s office at the South Lee County Courthouse. The bid approved for the repair to the steps $4,725 from Abolt Construction in Fort Madison. The low bid for the remodeling project was $6,150 from Jacobs Contracting of Donnellson.
CORRECTION: This story was updated Oct. 25, 2018 to reflect the correct name of Shelley Pruin as the concerned resident and not Laurie Burchett. Pen City Current apologizes to the parties and regrets the incorrect information.