SIBLEY—Osceola County will continue sharing engineers, this time with O’Brien County, after signing a new temporary agreement to receive engineering services from O’Brien County engineer Scott Rinehart.
The Osceola County Board of Supervisors approved the agreement at its meeting Nov. 24. Rinehart will take over providing services after Dickinson County engineer Dan Eckert’s temporary agreement expires on Dec. 6.
“It’s essentially the same terms as the last one,” said board chairman Ed Jones.
Osceola County has been getting engineering services from Eckert since July after former engineer Aaron Holmbeck resigned in June.
Under the agreement, Eckert worked one day per week in Osceola County and was available by phone and e-mail to complete tasks the county needed a licensed engineer to supervise or sign off on, such as construction projects.
Rinehart will provide the same services and will similarly divide his time between the two counties, although his time in each will not be an even split.
“He’s just going to come up one day a week, not two and a half,” said Osceola County maintenance superintendent Mike O’Connor. “There will be 20 hours by phone and then a day here, that’s the way I understood it. We’ll have to make it work.”
Osceola County will be billed for a minimum of 20 hours per week, even if Rinehart ends up working fewer hours than that in a given week. Under the terms of the agreement, any liability issues for projects or problems in Osceola County would stay there and not have an impact on O’Brien County.
The agreement was approved by the O’Brien County Board of Supervisors at its Nov. 17 meeting.
There is no end date specified in the agreement with O’Brien County. Rinehart will provide engineering services to both counties while Osceola County continues to search for a full-time engineer.
With a short-term engineering solution on the books, the board heard another comment on the recent Tyler Avenue repaving project in Ocheyedan, which started last fall and was finished this spring.
Board member Jerry Helmers said he had been getting comments about a four-way stop installed at the intersection of Tyler Avenue and Second Street on the east side of Ocheyedan.
The stop was put in place after two miles of Tyler Avenue between Highway 9 and 170th Street were paved. Helmers said some drivers have asked to have it removed due to the amount of truck traffic taking Tyler Avenue to the Corporate Farmers Elevator feed mill.
O’Connor pointed out the four-way stop was installed because the intersection is right at the end of the city limits and helps to slow traffic coming into Ocheyedan.
“At first I didn’t want a stop sign, but now I think leave it,” O’Connor said. “The stop sign is not to slow traffic down. It’s just for safety right on the edge of town.”
The board agreed to leave the four-way stop as is for the time being. Board member Jayson Vande Hoef noted the signs, which have been up for more than a year, will help commuters get used to the new flow of traffic through Ocheyedan since Tyler Avenue is paved and receiving more traffic.
“From a safety standpoint I’d like to see it stay,” Vande Hoef said. “East and west was always through and that’s the one that’s more likely to get missed.”
Helmers said the board has received some comments about improvements, such as adding a streetlight over one intersection or removing the four-way stop, and the overall response has been positive.
“That is a nice road now,” he said.