Published On: Thu, Feb 7th, 2013

Wood bridges near Wausa to be replaced in 2013

CENTER — Knox County Supervisors handled some business for the Road Dept., discussed plans for an addition at the Courthouse and took action on revolving loan funds during the Jan. 31 meeting.

Wood bridges, east of Wausa and north of Bloomfield, will be replaced  by concrete slab bridges in 2013.

Board members accepted the quotes presented by Husker Steel.

The quote for the project near Wausa was over $42,000 and the project near Bloomfield was close to $41,000.

Culverts would not be workable at either location according to Hwy. Supt. Kevin Barta.

Quotes were opened for five culverts which will be installed at three sites in the county.

The lowest bid, in an amount right at $31,400  submitted by B’s Enterprises out of Norfolk, was accepted.

Board members and Barta discussed work done by the bridge and oil crew over the winter months

When needed the five employees, who make up the bridge crew, help push snow, according to Barta.

The men are out on the roads with the motor graders and the truck plows, and the loader is used for snow removal around the Courthouse and the annex area.

The road employees have been cutting down cedar trees when the weather allows, working on the road sign inventory and replacement and making repairs on bridges.

“They still work during the winter months – they keep busy. The oil crew helps out also,” Barta said.

Supervisor Jim Sohol said he had heard comments when he was out campaigning last year on whether it was necessary to keep a bridge crew on over the winter months.

“We try to be as efficient as we can,” Supervisor Jim Fuchtman said.

Contracting the bridge work out is not a good option for the county, according to Barta.

“We would have to wait until the contractor had time to come in and do the bridge work – it would be at their discretion,” Barta said.

Board members directed Barta to complete a study for the closure of roads in Harrison Township and roads that are on the border of Harrison and Spade Townships.

“There would be about ten miles of road,” Barta said.

Board members took action to avoid handing the county’s revolving loan funds over to the State.

Approval was given on a service agreement which will allow Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District to manage the county’s revolving loan program for six months.

Matt Cerny, Knox Economic Development Director, told board members the service agreement with NNEDD was necessary in order to be able to follow guidelines now required by the State.

“Today you are making it official. You were able to have your questions answered at the last meeting when Holly from NENEDD was here,” Cerny said. “I have some concerns, but right now I think this is the only option. We will be following the guidelines of the State by having NENEDD manage the funds. A lot of the other communities are just giving their funds to the state. I think this is a better way – we can hope that it comes back to us at some point.”

Board members voted for the change but were still unhappy.

“There is a cloud over our heads that the State can come in and take the money,” Fuchtman said.

“We are stuck between a hard place and a rock with this,” Rayder Swanson said.

Renovation plans for the Knox County Courthouse, which are estimated to cost around $1.2 million, are still being looked at.

Glenn Mannes and Sarah Mannes Homstad, Mannes Architects, Yankton, S.D., who have been hired for the project, met with board members to discuss plans for a three-story addition on the south side of the Courthouse. The project would include new restrooms and a stairwell along with an elevator and would be in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

Mannes and Homstad had toured the facility and talked to each county official about their office area.

Suggested plans for the top floor addition would include a secure hallway for the judge to go from the courtroom to his office, new handicapped accessible bathrooms, a larger jury room, a conference room for attorney and client, and a secure holding place for a prisoner.

New restrooms and a board room are included in the plans for the addition on the main floor.

The sheriff’s office, dispatching and 911 center and jail area are located in the basement of the courthouse. The addition would include a conference room and also a secure room for prisoners to meet with attorneys.

Discussion was held on whether the basement addition would be suitable for a storm shelter. Security doors will be needed on each floor.

Board members discussed the possibility of scaling back the dimensions of the new addition to cut costs.

“I do not want to overbuild – our population is declining. I do not want to spend the money if the space is not needed,” Supervisor Jim Fuchtman said. “We have to answer to the taxpayer.”

Mannes told board members a revised plan for the renovation along with a version of a smaller addition will be presented at the Feb. 28 Supervisor meeting.

A survey may need to be done on the property. Soil samples will have to be taken before construction begins.

Mannes estimated it would be a year before the project could be finished.

“If we could get the addition enclosed before next winter then the inside work could be done during the winter months,” Mannes said.

Del Beckenhauer, Beckenhauer Construction Management, gave a thumbnail version of what his company could provide during the construction project of the renovation.

“We would help with bidding process and make sure everything is included according to the specifications, work with contractors, handle the bonding, and have a supervisor on the job during construction,” Beckenhauer said.

The cost for construction management would be a percentage of the construction cost according to Beckenhauer.

No action was taken by board members.

Board members were unsure if the added cost of a construction manager was necessary.