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'No stone unturned' in sanitary sewer issue

Thursday, July 24, 2008

When Kim Johnson, BV County Environmental Health and Zoning Director met with the Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors Tuesday she reported that the County has received five engineering proposals for the 'Time of Transfer' Sanitary Sewer project. Meetings were held last month for residents who would be affected by the project to educate them on how time of transfer rules will affect their property.

Supervisors have only met with Barker Lemar of Des Moines and Kuehl and Payer of Storm Lake about the particular project. Before narrowing the list down, the Board hopes to meet with other engineers.

Supervisors say they feel it would be wise to meet with the other three engineers who have given proposals as they look for the best way to go about handling the challenges. "I don't think we should leave any stone unturned," says Supervisor Lorna Burnside. The County says they would like to be able to meet with the engineers as soon as next week.

Patti Moore, Storm Lake City Administrator was available at the meeting and says the City has done some work with Veenstra and Kimm, from Des Moines and are somewhat familiar with the Storm Lake area. "They're doing several projects for us now," says Moore.

The Board of Supervisors also took a trip out to the new law enforcement center to look at the area which employees have requested for smoking in their parking lot, however, since the LEC's parking lot is so close to the County Health Building, the Supervisors wanted to visually see the location where the employees wanted the designation. The County approved a portion of the lot by the west Salley Port, which Sheriff Chuck Eddy says is away from entrances and is better accessed for jailers. The designated area is for employees only. Jail Administrator Gary Launderville says the inmates have no smoking rights and will not be allowed to use the area.

The County also met with Sheriff Eddy in relation to a mass emergency communication system Eddy is interested in looking at. Eddy says a couple weeks ago he held a meeting to demonstrate the program for the fire department, a couple schools, officials from Buena Vista Regional Medical Center and the Albert City City Clerk. The system is an internet based program and would maintain numbers for the County and large portions of the population could be contacted in case of disaster or emergency. With the recent flooding and tornados across the state, Eddy says many other counties are using the system and he feels it would be a good system to have in the County and could be used in a variety of situations.

After the emergency message is recorded, Eddy says the system calls the numbers all at the same time. "It can make up to 1,000 calls a minute," he says. The system also has a way to detect whether a person answered the phone, whether it got an answering machine or whether there was no response. The County would be allotted 30,000 minutes and would be required to pay $10,000 a year for having the system. However, Eddy says he'd like to get other cities, schools and other agencies around the County on board to help share the costs.

Eddy says he feels the program would also be good for larger employers like Tyson or Sara Lee who might need to contact a lot of people in an emergency.

Cell phones and out of state numbers could also be listed. Eddy says, for example, if an adult child in Texas had an elderly parent in Storm Lake that they wanted to keep tabs on, they could also be notified in the system when the parent was notified. The Board told Eddy they'd like to hold another meeting with more interested parties in a couple of weeks to demonstrate the system again.

The Board of Supervisors passed a motion to adopt two ordinances after the third reading of the Dangerous Buildings Ordinance and the Nuisance Ordinance.

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