The Brown County Commission discussed potential improvements to the American Legion building in Hiawatha at Monday morning’s regular meeting.
American Legion Post 66 Commander Curt Weldon joined the meeting via Zoom and asked for the county’s assistance in an approximate $9,000 to $10,000 project on the facade of the Legion building, that would include replacement and widening of the front door to be ADA compliant. Other projects would be replacing the front of the building — which dates back to early 1970s and had started to rot — capping the windows.
The Legion owns the building, but the county leases it for the purpose of a Senior Citizen Center. Weldon told the commissioners that he obtained a grant to pay for a third, and proposed the county split the remainder of the project cost with the Legion.
Commissioner Bill Pollock also encouraged that donations be asked for from people who utilize the building.
The commissioners asked Weldon to provide him copies of the bids for consideration at the next meeting.
The commission also had additional discussion on whether to hire James Neeld, an attorney who specializes in wind energy negotiations, to represent the county for any future wind farm discussions. While there has not been any specific wind farms set to go be built in Brown County, it was discussed that transmission lines for the Nemaha County wind farms would go through Brown County. Because of this and the potential for future discussions concerning the expansion of wind energy into Brown County, the Brown County Attorney Kevin Hill offered his advice that the county should have someone who could negotiate on its behalf.
Hill said he had received a good report on behalf of Neeld from the Nemaha County Attorney and noted that the county would not need to pay a retainer, but would pay for services rendered only.
He told the commissioners that negotiating with wind farms was a very specialized area and it was his advice to have someone ready to negotiate on the county’s behalf.
However, Commissioner Pollock expressed concern about the amount of money Nemaha County paid out and didn’t feel it was necessary. He said he felt the county should consider other people who would have the ability to negotiate.
Commissioner Richard Lehmkul, also chairman of the commission, advised that Commissioner Pollock could bring another name for consideration at next week’s meeting.
In other business:
The county voted to allow the Hiawatha Chamber and Visitors Bureau to hold the annual Easter Egg Hunt at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 3. HCVB Administrator Sarah Kleopfer said they would require masks and spread out the age groups around the courthouse square to allow for more spacing.
Wanda Davis, Services for the Elderly Director, discussed a recall on the Horton taxi van. Davis has set up an appointment with Armbruster in Falls City.
The commissioners discussed the District 2 culvert replaced during the 2019 storms. Commissioner Shoemaker would like to submit the information we do have and determine if there is enough information for the damage to be covered under FEMA funds.
The commissioners voted to approve the court’s use of the Commission room for the purpose of trial monitoring for public use.
Brown County Clerk, Dawn Boyles, presented the Brown County Mental Health Contract for 2021, for approval and signatures. The commission voted to approve and sign.
Tube bids for the three road districts were opened. Bids for the combined three districts were as follows: J & J Drainage Products Co. with a bid of $55,147.95; Welborn Sales with a bid of $61,378.75; and Metal Culverts with a bid of $63,721.49; Road Foreman Rodney Allen was present for the bid opening. The commission voted to accept the bid from J & J
Drainage Co. for $55,147.95, contingent upon delivery time and if it is the same product the county has had in the past.
The commissioners voted to approve the liquor license for the Country Cabin.
The commissioners held two Executive Sessions on non-elected personnel. No binding action was taken on either.