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Floyd County drainage district project price comes in well under estimate

Floyd County drainage district project price comes in well under estimate
Seed and mulch have been applied, landscaping rock spread and plants planted in the atrium courtyard area between the Floyd County courthouse and the Floyd County Law Enforcement Center. The county is still waiting for bollards (protective columns to prevent vehicle intrusion) to be installed. Press photo by Bob Steenson
By Bob Steenson,

Property owners in Floyd County Drainage District 3 may be able to save almost 30% of the expected cost of a large ditch repair project after bids came in significantly below estimates.

The Floyd County supervisors, who act as trustees for some of the drainage districts in the county, received bids for the District 3 project at the Board of Supervisors meeting this week.

Tyler Conley, an engineer for Bolton & Menk Inc. of Algona who has developed the drainage district repair project and who was attending the meeting remotely, presented a list of 10 bids that had been received on the project, ranging from almost $415,000 to almost $756,000.

All 10 bidders were from Iowa, with the closest being Zimmerman’s Digging and Demolition from Ionia, Cole Excavating of Greene, and Popp Excavating of Osage.

Conley’s estimate for the project’s construction cost had been $590,000.

“There were five bids above, five below, so I feel pretty good about the engineer’s estimate,” Conley said.

He said all 10 bidders conformed to the project specifications, so he recommended going with the low bid, of $414,750.60, by Larson Contracting Central LLC of Lake Mills. Conley said he had worked with Larson on a number of projects and the company’s work has been very satisfactory.

The supervisors approved accepting Larson’s bid.

The total cost of the project with the accepted bid price plus engineering and other costs is estimated to be about $622,250, which will be paid entirely by the people who own property within the drainage district, which is south and west of Floyd, going almost to Rudd.

The project price includes the cost of having “reclassified” the district, which means determining how much relative benefit each parcel of land in the district receives from the drainage district, so that costs incurred by the district can be assessed proportionally.

Many areas of the main drainage ditch that serves the district 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.

Work on the district has been planned to work around harvest and bird migrations, and is set to be completed by Sept. 30, 2024.

Also at this week’s board meeting, the supervisors discussed with Floyd County Public Health/Home Health Care Administrator Gail Arjes a decision by the county Board of Health to increase staff nurse pay by $2 per hour and administrative assistant staff by $1 per hour because of the inability to hire a nurse to fill a vacancy.

The plan, Arjes said, is to not hire another nurse, but to compensate the existing staff for the extra work that will required to cover that position.

Supervisor Chair Mark Kuhn noted that the Board of Health is an autonomous board and can make decisions on how to spend its budget, as long as it doesn’t go over the budget.

Arjes confirmed that the additional pay for existing staff will cost less than hiring another full-time nurse.

The board and Arjes also discussed a recent report that listed home health agencies throughout Iowa that were cited for violations, including the Floyd County agency.

Arjes said the state inspects county home health care agencies every three years, and the inspection this year in January found three items, none of which involved patient care.

In one case the agency twice failed to notify a physician that a client had not been home when a visit had been scheduled so the appointments were missed. In another the agency failed to document that a client was using a homemade reacher tool, and in another a nurse failed to wipe off and sanitize a clipboard that had been laid on a counter, thereby failing to ensure infection-control procedures, Arjes said.

She said she sent the state a “plan of corrections” on how to address the violations and the state accepted the plan with no changes asked for.

“The surveyor praised us for our patient care,” she said.

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