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The Benton County Board of Supervisors dealt with fireworks at their April 6 meeting in Vinton.

One matter was routine, as they approved a permit requested by Marvin Bartosh for an event to be held April 17, 2010 at 7612 21st Ave., Blairstown.

The second matter dealt with a petition presented by people living along 29th Ave. Drive, 60th Street, 28th Ave. Drive and 56th Street Trail. Tony Schirmer presented the petition to the board, stating a recent event lasted 10 hours late into the night with large explosives causing windows to rattle and houses to shake. According to the board minutes, Schirmer wanted a time limit on displays, and that no displays be allowed after 10 p.m. The board said they would contact the fireworks permit holder and discuss the concerns.

In other action at the board meeting:

- A land use hearing was set for Ed Scheetz for a parcel of land in Section 15 of Iowa Township.

- Charles James, Veterans Affair Director, discussed a program where a van, supplied by the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in Iowa City, will be used for the transport of veterans. The cost to Benton County is $215 per month. It will be driven by local volunteers. The supervisors requested James get a certificate of insurance from the VA.

- The board approved having the county attorney draft a letter, seeking full payment from farm tenants who have not paid their rent. Full payment is to be received by April 19.

- The Benton County Engineer said the University of Iowa will monitor the water flow under a Benton County bridge over Dry Creek to determine its impact on flooding in the nearby Linn County community of Palo.

- The board approved the 2010 MC-70 dust control program.

- Action was tabled on a land use change request from John and Irene Cherveny to put up five buildings and two condominiums on old railroad right of way, next to Tara Hills Country Club. The board wanted to view the site and continue the hearing at their April 20 meeting.

Bids are opened and approved on new law enforcement center

VINTON – Bids were awarded for construction of the new Benton County Law Enforcement Center at the March 30 meeting of the Benton County Board of Supervisors.

The low and winning bidder was Kleiman Construction, Cedar Rapids, at $6.2 million. Design Dynamics had estimated the cost would be $6.5 million, plus added costs for elevation and mitigation work, geothermal heating/cooling system and a new emergency operations center.

On the law enforcement center itself, Kleiman had a bid of $5.4 million. This is to be funded completely by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), since the previous law enforcement center was destroyed in the 2008 flood.

Kleiman had a bid of $166,300 for mitigation work to be funded by FEMA, $206,636 for geothermal work to be funded by Benton County, and $350,477 for the emergency operations center, to be funded by a federal grant and a 25 percent local match.

Garling Construction, Belle Plaine, had the second-lowest overall bid of $6.4 million.

Representatives from Garling stressed they were a local contractor, and that Kleiman’s bid did not meet bid specifications. Kleiman representatives countered that they have employees who are from Benton County.

Benton County Attorney David Thompson advised both firms were responsible and responsive bidders, according to board minutes, and that the supervisors had the right to waive minor informalities and to act in the best interest of the county, with Kleiman being the lowest responsible and responsive bidder.

Todd McNall of Design Dynamics stressed with Benton County’s budget situation, the difference of $200,000 between the two bids is a lot of money.

The board accepted Design Dynamics’ recommendation, with Supervisor David Vermedahl stressing the county had to be fair to the taxpayers, though he was concerned about not sticking to bidding requirements.

UPDATED April 14, 2010 11:57 AM

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