Sups hear UDMO request

Representatives from Upper Des Moines Opportunity presented an appeal for funding to the Webster County Board of Supervisors at its regular meeting Tuesday.

The supervisors also approved an agreement with the city of Fort Dodge to move forward with a bridge replacement project, and accepted change orders and pay estimates for a joint drainage project with Calhoun County.

UDMO Outreach Director Mary Ohrtman told the supervisors the organization provides vital services to low-income, elderly and disabled community members. In the past year UDMO assisted 5,372 individuals in 2,286 Webster County households. The agency serves 12 counties.

She requested $20,000 from the county budget for fiscal year 2015. The county has given no money for the last several years.

UDMO board member Kim Motl spoke on the funding need.

“I was a member of the Board of Supervisors when we cut funding for Upper Des Moines,” Motl said. “The cuts were due to the fact that revenue for the county was not coming in, as we all know for counties and cities.”

Things are changing in mental health and public health programs, she said, and there is some concern that county public health will not get grant money it formerly relied on.

“You are not funding through your dollars for general relief 5,372 people. The money’s not there to do that,” Motl said. “You need to stop and look. Is it important that we take care of the poor in Webster County? Yes it is, whether we want to or not.

“In order to continue to do that, we really need to give Upper Des Moines the money to do that, and let them take over what the county can no longer do.”

The supervisors unanimously approved a bridge replacement project after hearing explanation from County Engineer Randy Will. The bridge is along the northern corporate limits of Fort Dodge on 160th Street where it crosses Soldier Creek.

The project will total about $500,000, Will said, with up to $400,000 funded by a grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation. Webster County and Fort Dodge will split the remaining cost. The City Council approved the deal on Jan. 13.

Will said the project could possibly be let before the end of 2014, and then finished by the end of 2015.

The board also held a joint drainage district phone meeting with Calhoun County to discuss work in district 12 Webster and 38 Calhoun.

The boards approved a change order increasing the amount paid by $2,480 to contractor Reutzel Excavating, for open ditch repairs. The increase was primarily due to changes in pipe size.

The boards also approved a third pay estimate for $123,391.67 to Reutzel. The project is completed, said Drainage Clerk Dorine Pliner, but there are a couple things left to finish. The payment was for the work that is done.