Jones Co.’s mental health advocate to resign

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Jones County’s mental health advocate informed the Board of Supervisors during their Nov. 21 meeting that she would be stepping down.

     Bethany Wheaton met with the board during their evening meeting and said she would have to give up serving Jones County as one of four different counties under her belt. She said working for four counties is very time consuming, especially with all of the data she has to keep track of and mental health patients she has to visit on a regular basis. On average, she said she was dedicating four hours a month to Jones County.

     Wheaton also presented the board with her FY 2017 annual report, which as to be field with DHS by Dec. 1.

     The report includes the age, race, ethnicity, education level, and changes in patient’s committal status.

     As of today, Jones County has 31 committals. Seventeen of those are outpatient and one person has been committed to Mercy Hospital in Cedar Rapids. Wheaton said three others are committed to alternative placements: Mediapolis Residential Care Facility in Mediapolis, Iowa; the Penn Center in Delhi; and Cedar Valley Ranch in Vinton, Iowa.

     Of those 31, 10 are inmates in the Anamosa State Penitentiary.

     “The inmates are in a different category because there’s not much that I can do for them,” explained Wheaton, “other than a hearing to get off their commitment.”

     She visits the penitentiary once every six months to visit with the inmates. She said they typically want off their committals because they don’t want to take their medications.

     “Most of the inmates I have in Anamosa have schizophrenia,” added Wheaton. “They have very little insight into their illness.”

     The current age range of Jones County committals is between 23 and 74 years of age. Ten of those individuals are diagnosed with bi-polar, 15 with schizophrenia, four with schizoaffective disorder (a combo of bi-polar and schizophrenia), one with depression, and one diagnosed with an adjustment disorder.

     Wheaton informed the board that Jones County also saw an increase in committals in September this year with five. However, she said three were dismissed because there wasn’t a reason for an act of dangerousness.

     “A lot of the recent committals deal a lot with substance abuse,” Wheaton said.

In other county business:

     • County Treasurer Amy Picray presented the county’s and Solid Waste Management Commission’s quarterly investment report as of Sept. 30.

     The county’s total in CDs is at $2.7 million, up about $620,000 from this time last year.

     “I’m trying to put as much money in CDs as we can because we’re getting such good rates,” said Picray.

     The county has CDs at Citizens State Bank in Monticello and Wyoming, F&M Bank in Anamosa, and Fidelity Bank & Trust in Anamosa.

     The total in MMF (money market funds) is at $12.4 million, up $329,000. The county’s total assets are at $23.5 million, down $3 million from last year. Picray said this could be attributed to the mental health funds. (Jones County is the fiscal agent for the MHDS region.)

     The landfill’s total in CDs is a little over $2 million, down $129,000 from last year. The landfill’s total assets are at $2.1 million. Picray said this number has been on the decline every year but one since FY 2013.

     • The board approved abating $254 in taxes on a mobile home previously located in Fairview Township.

     • The board designated Dusty Embree, former Jones County Economic Development Director, as the county’s representative with ECICOG regarding action items related to the Wapsipinicon Trail Project.

     • County Engineer Derek Snead presented a site plan to the board for the new JETS facility, to be built in Monticello. The building, 85 feet long by 60 feet deep, will sit on a 40-foot parcel.


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