Supervisors review Fremont County evacuation order, but hold off on clearing

The Fremont County Board of Supervisors considered dismissing the evacuation order or some part of it at their April 9 meeting, but decided more information was needed for a decision, and will revisit the issue on April 16.

Fremont County Emergency Management Director Mike Crecelius asked the supervisors if they wanted to rescind any part of the evacuation order. He said he had been asked repeatedly by people when they could get back into their homes, but warned that there were many homes and roads still inaccessible. Crecelius advised at that time everything west of Bluff Road was still under the evacuation order, but Thurman residents had been allowed back in. He warned the supervisors many of the roads were still closed because they hadn't been inspected yet for safety, and MidAmerican Energy wouldn't turn the power on to any flood-affected houses without inspections and approvals from Crecelius.

Supervisor Dustin Sheldon said he had been contacted, too, and he thought people whose houses were not affected should be allowed to return home.

Crecelius repeated his caution that roads remained closed, and added allowing some people to go through road barriers and not others was going to create issues.

“Just the other night,” Crecelius said, “we had someone drive around behind a barrier and hit a sinkhole, totalling his vehicle.”

Deputy Fremont County Attorney Tyler Loontjer questioned the possibility of lifting evacuated areas road by road.

The supervisors considered the idea of leaving the evacuation order in place but allowing residents to sign a waiver accepting the risk if they return to their homes. All pointed out they needed to know who was in what areas in case of emergencies or additional flooding.

Knowing there could be additional flooding in the next week, and wanting to establish some kind of rules and waiver, the supervisors agreed to table the matter another week and revisit it at the next meeting.

The supervisors and Fremont County Engineer Dan Davis had opened bids for two single axle dump trucks for the county at the April 2 meeting, but tabled a decision. Bids for the two trucks were received from Freightliner (Cummins-$157,492 or Detroit-$155,740), Peterbilt ($176,998), Mack (Mack-$207,601 or Alison-$212,023), Kenworth ($185,000) and International ($156,898).

Davis and Jeff Shirley came back with a recommendation that the county buy the Freightliners with the Detroit engines, and the supervisors approved the purchase. Shirley said he had spoken with several other counties about what they were using and heard good things about the Freightliners. Freightliner also had the lowest bid, and the county wanted to get away from the Cummins engines on these trucks.

Davis also asked for and received approval to accept a bid of not to exceed $48,000 from HGM Associates, Inc., to do the bi-annual 2019 fracture critical and routine bridge inspections. This includes approximately 122 structures, federal only. HGM will present a final report in 60 days, with extensions allowed for those structures that cannot be accessed due to flooding.

The supervisors canvassed and approved the results of the SidneySchool District $10 million bond special election held April 2, 2019.

Of registered SidneySchool District residents, 441 people voted on two propositions. The district needed 60 percent of those votes on both propositions to be “yes” for the bond to pass.

Proposition A received 264 “Yes” votes, or 59.86 percent, and 177 “No” votes, or 40.14 percent. 

Proposition B received 255 “Yes” votes, or 57.82 percent, and 185 “No” votes, or 41.95 percent, with an undervote of 4 voters who failed to mark either choice. Fremont County Auditor advised the supervisors she would not be surprised if a recount was called, since the vote was so close. 

Sandy Graybill presented the supervisors with a letter for rehabilitation assistance and a letter for non-structural alternatives to rehabilitation of flood control works for their approval and signatures. Graybill said the L-575 Levee System, made up of 5 separate Levee Districts:   Benton-Washington, McKissockIsland, Buchanan, Northwest Atchison, and Hamburg, had completed their combined SWIF (System-Wide Improvement Framework) plan with the Army Corps of Engineers and just had it approved in November. Graybill said they had not heard back from the Corps yet what their requirements would be, and this latest round of flooding could change those anyway.  (The L-575 system starts by Thurman, IA and continues along the Missouri River by Hamburg, IA and into Atchison County, MO and Nemaha County, NE.)  

Graybill advised the supervisors there would be many documents that would require signatures or authorization and quick return times over the next several months, and asked how they wanted to handle that. The supervisors agreed to put the matter on the April 16 agenda to establish a system.

At the request of the Fremont County Conservation Board, the supervisors approved a resolution allowing the hire of Kris Henneman and Mike Allen as part-time employees at the golf course, and removing Dallas and Jerry Moores as part-time employees. Henneman and Allen will be paid $8.83 per hour and start April 10.

In other business, the supervisors:

approved renewal of the Williams-Jobe-Gibson Post No. 128 Class C Outdoor Service/Sunday Sales Liquor License, and

appointed Cara Marker-Morgan to act as administrative assistant for the Scott Drainage District.

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