COVID-19 cases decline in Jones County

Board of Supervisors
By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Following Monday’s derecho damage in Anamosa and southern Jones County, the Public Health officials were unavailable to provide a COVID-19 update at the Aug. 11 board of supervisor meeting.

     The Express followed up with Jones County Public Health later in the week. Coordinator Jenna Lovaas reported on Aug. 12 that there were 14 active COVID cases (13 confirmed and one probable).

     Emergency Management Coordinator Brenda Leonard informed the board that she was looking into how the county could spend COVID-19 funds from the CARES Act. Leonard explained that if the county had a project that was denied by FEMA, it could possibly go through the CARES Act for funding. This might entail purchasing PPE, increased courthouse security, basically anything COVID-19-related.

     Leonard said she requested the state put together a set of guidelines as to how the CARES Act funds could be spent so it could be passed down to cities, too, and not just counties.

     “It’s all extremely confusing,” admitted Leonard. “That’s why I asked Homeland Security for guidance.”

     In addition, the board approved a resolution requesting reimbursement of eligible COVID-19-related expenses from the Iowa COVID-19 Government Relief Fund. County Auditor Janine Sulzner shared that Jones County was eligible for up to $262,000.

     The board’s resolution was just requesting for the maximum amount for reimbursement.

     “We’re still incurring expenses every single day,” said Sulzner.

In other county business:

     The board filed tax liens for delinquent water/sewer bills for the Center Junction sanitary sewer/water system, totaling $2,028.

     The board also filed liens for delinquent sewer bills for the Fairview sanitary sewer system, totaling $594.

     All properties in Center Junction and Fairview received 30-day notices.

     The board approved abating property taxes on two airplane hangars acquired by the City of Monticello on March 1, 2020. The total amount abated was $450.

     Regarding the courthouse window project, Sulzner reported that water from the storm on Monday afternoon came through the old windows and into various offices of the courthouse.

     “We had places with water, and we don’t know why,” she said of seeing water in places they’ve never seen before, including the elevator shaft.

     The Broadway Place Annex was without power for a few days, as well as phone and internet services.

     Several trees and branches feel down around the courthouse, too.

     As more and more people request absentee ballots for the Nov. 3 Presidential Election, Sulzner reported that her office had received close to 700 requests.

     She reminded everyone that absentee ballots could not be sent out until Oct. 5.

     The biggest group of people sending out request forms are those from the Independent/No Party affiliation.

     The board approved the re-zoning of  a parcel in Cass Township on Circle Drive in Anamosa from R-Residential to C2- Highway Commercial. The re-zoning was at the request of property owner George May for the construction of a billboard-size sign.

     Supervisor Wayne Manternach provided an update on the mental health region. The region has CARES Act funding they need to spend, and issued a request for RFPs (request for proposals) for providers to come into local schools and work with staff on mental health issues and concerns about returning to school during a pandemic.

     They received bids back from Hillcrest Family Services and the Abbe Center. They will combine their services at a cost of $150,000 to $170,000 and provide mental health services to the schools in the nine-county region.

     Manternach said this project fits into the region’s strategic plan because it involves building relationships and partnerships.

     “It’s a good step forward and a key step forward,” praised Manternach, “for the region to be able to provide this service.”

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