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LEC punch list, heating, drainage occupy lengthy Floyd County supervisors meeting,

LEC punch list, heating, drainage occupy lengthy Floyd County supervisors meeting,
A large fuel-oil-powered portable heating unit has been connected to the Floyd County courthouse in an effort to provide heat to the upper floors. The previously existing hot water heating system had been removed as part of a courthouse update project that is installing new ductwork that will be connected to the new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system that is part of the new Floyd County Law Enforcement Center. The plan had been to finish the courthouse work before winter, but the project has been plagued with delays and county workers are now facing very cold office work spaces. The Engineering Department employees are currently working remotely because their office is so cold. County Treasurer Frank Rottinghaus said his office temperature was in the 40s one morning. Offices are using portable heaters, but they are limited in the number of them they can use before the power consumption starts flipping off breakers. Press photo by Bob Steenson
By Bob Steenson,

The Floyd County Board of Supervisors at its meeting this week looked at a 99-page “punch list” of 320 things that still needed to be finished or fixed in the new county Law Enforcement Center before a certificate of substantial completion can be signed and responsibility for the building turned over to the county.

Even with the list of items that still need to be taken care of, the LEC has been occupied by the county Sheriff’s Office and detainees in the new county jail since January.

The list, compiled by project architectural firm Prochaska & Associates in September, includes hundreds of items as small as “removing dirt specs” or caulking the side of a mirror. A lot of it is “clean up” and “touch up.”

But it also includes larger items such as finishing a vestibule, aligning ductwork, replacing tile, or installing still-missing items.

Supervisor Linda Tjaden asked how long it would take to get the punch list completed.

Jason McLendon, project manager for The Samuels Group, the company acting as construction manager for the project, said some of the items have already been completed and just need to be signed off on, but he acknowledged that it’s difficult finishing everything with the building being occupied, especially since it’s occupied by detainees.

“It requires moving people around, coordination, things like that,” he said.

McLendon said he would meet with Chief Deputy Pat Shirley to come up with a schedule of when workers could have access to areas so they can complete the punch list items.

Another issue that has come up several times recently involves the courthouse update side of the project and the lack of heat in the building.

The previous hot water heating system was removed from the courthouse to get all the piping out of the way of other work, with the expectation that the new ductwork that will connect all of the courthouse to the new heating and cooling system that is part of the Law Enforcement Center (LEC) would be installed and connected before winter.

But the project has – like many construction projects in this pandemic era – been plagued with delays.

Frank Rottinghaus, the county treasurer, said, “I’m realizing that the actual venting is not going to be connected in a short time, obviously it’s not, but are there other things we can do to get some heat in the office?”

He said one morning when he went into his office it was below 50 degrees in there.

McLendon said, “That’s what I’m here to figure out and fix.”

County Auditor Gloria Carr said, “The problem is you can’t plug any more little portable heaters in because you blow breakers, so they have to figure out what non-electrical options we have.”

One potential part of the solution was finished Tuesday, as the garage door that used to open into a large storage area of the ground floor has been replaced with glass panels and a regular door, and a large portable fuel-oil-powered heater had been located just outside that area with ductwork leading into the garage space.

Other large industrial portable heaters were also being put to work this week in the courthouse.

Also at the regular board meeting this week, the supervisors:

• Discussed potential uses for thousands of dollars in national opioid abuse settlements that the county will be receiving as part of court settlements with opioid manufacturers and distributors.

One of the first checks the county is receiving is relatively small, for $1,864.74, but later settlement checks will be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

The board decided to take no action now and will leave it up to the new Board of Supervisors that will take office Jan. 2 to decide what to do with the money. The money must be used for opioid-related uses, such as abuse prevention, making available nalaxone or other medications that can reverse opioid overdoses, abuse recovery and treatment programs, educational efforts, etc.

• Decided to seek the advice of the county attorney’s office before making a decision on a request by Bob Engels of Engels Farms Inc. to abate taxes on property he owns where the classification was changed from ag to commercial, resulting in additional property tax of more than $20,000 per year. He appealed the change in classification and the county Board of Review changed it back to ag, but he hadn’t filed an appeal in time to prevent two years worth of the extra taxes being assessed.

• Held a long public hearing with property owners in Drainage District 3, which is located west and southwest of Floyd. The estimated cost of a repair project on the drainage ditch that is part of the drainage system is $797,500, which would be paid by all the property owners in the district based on a formula that includes the number of acres they own and the relative benefit their property receives from the district.

Many areas of the ditch are overgrown with trees or have other problems that restrict the water flow, and no major work on the entire length of the ditch had been done since the district was established in 1917.

Most of the people at the hearing acknowledged that the ditch needed to have work done, and many of the questions were about how the costs would be assessed against individual property owners, how it would impact land in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), what impact the repairs would have on the beaver population that causes problems by building dams in the ditch, and other concerns.

The project will also include a district reclassification, to determine the relative benefit that each parcel receives from the district so that cost assessments can be determined. That reclassification may also result in some land being removed from the district if it receives no benefit, and other land that is currently not part of the district being annexed in if it does receive a benefit.

Some of the landowners at the meeting said they wanted further opportunity to provide input, so the supervisors continued the public hearing to 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12.


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