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Emmet to discuss sharing engineer with Palo Alto

March 7, 2014
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville News

Emmet County is exploring the option of sharing a county engineer with Palo Alto County, Emmet County Board of Supervisors chair Alan Madden told the board Tuesday.

Madden said Palo Alto County supervisors Ed Noonan and Linus Solberg would like to discuss sharing an engineer. He and supervisor Tim Schumacher planned on meeting with them later in the week.

Madden said the Iowa Department of Transportation had asked that Emmet County demonstrate taking some course of action on replacing the county engineer and that county can only share with adjacent counties. He noted that other counties sharing an engineer were Worth-Mitchell, Cass-Adams and Floyd Chickasaw.

Schumacher said it was good to discuss possible sharing.

"I think it's promising," Madden said.

Supervisor Ron Smith noted that the county has continued to provide emergency law enforcement services to the City of Armstrong. Sheriff Mike Martens late last year served notice on Armstrong that he was ending the county's dispatching agreement after Armstrong stopped paying for the services. Martens later notified Armstrong that he was ending the law enforcement contract.

Fact Box

County accepts Patocka's resignation

The Emmet County Board of supervisors has accepted the resignation of county engineer Roger Patocka effective May 11.

Under the agreement, Patocka was placed on paid administrative leave effective Jan. 28 through May 11. The county will continue to pay Patocka his salary and benefits through June 30.

The county also will not contest Patocka's application for unemployment benefits after the conclusion of the severance period.

As specified in the agreement, the county states:

"The resignation of Roger Patocka should not be considered to reflect negatively upon Roger's professional integrity, ethics, competency, reputation or good name."

"It's just incorrect that we're (Emmet County Board of Supervisors) not willing to meet with them (Armstrong City Council)," Smith.

Supervisor Jon Martyr said the county had made an offer that would have cut Armstrong's law enforcement costs by $25,000 and allowed the current chief of police, Craig Merrill, to remain as a deputy.

"I don't like us stepping in there because this is Mike's (sheriff Mike Martens) turf," Madden said. Madden said he had talked to Martens two weeks ago about getting past due dispatching fees from Armstrong paid and that Martens had said he would take direction from the board on the issue.

The board approved and signed the IGHCP health insurance renewal.

The board also took note that a business property tax credit application was late and would be accepted for next year but not for the current year.

The board also approved a request from Relay for Life to use the Courthouse grounds and outside outlets.

Dan Burton, assistant to the engineer, said next week he will meet with Northwest Iowa Planning and Development Commission regarding the 2018 N26 road project from the Palo Alto County line and four miles north.

Burton said he was also talking with Union Pacific Railroad about the Maple Hill overlay project. He also said crews had been out on the roads this past weekend.

Martyr noted calls from Milford and Jackson, Minn. thanking him for the good maintenance of Emmet County roads.



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