By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
The Jones County Board of Supervisors held a conference call with Supervisors from Linn and Benton counties during their meeting on Oct. 9. All three boards received letters from Iowa, Johnson, Dubuque and Delaware counties regarding the formation of regional mental health.
Before all three boards voted to either accept or deny the letters of intent, Supervisors gave their thoughts on the formation. Jones County Supervisor Leo Cook questioned whether a bigger mental health region is better with seven counties or the three (Jones, Linn and Benton). “Is bigger better, or is less more?” asked Cook.
The CPC from Benton County, Mary Williams, said with all seven counties coming together, the regional population would be about 567,000 people. She said with a larger group, it could be easier to get state legislators together for a common goal.
“We could have more pull in Des Moines with funding,” commented Deb Schultz with Jones County Community Services.
The counties involved in this regional planning are coming together for a CPC meeting to work some details out before presenting to their respective county boards.
“Some counties are quite far along in putting regions together,” commented Williams. She said they might have to talk to state legislators about an extension deadline, which is currently July 1, 2013.
Jones County Supervisor Joe Cruise said he had some reservations about this mental health region growing, but Schultz assured him that they had not received any other letters of intent and she was confident this region would stay at seven counties.
The Jones County Supervisors also expressed concern with weighted votes once the region was established. Jones County Supervisor Wayne Manternach said it should be one/one vote. Once the region agrees on and passes a 28E agreement, procedures and rules will be indicated within the agreement.
“We can put language into the 28E and make it what we want it to be,” said Schultz.
Each county involved would then have to pass the 28E agreement separately to enter into the contract.
“A lot of things could be worked out with a 28E,” Schultz added.
After discussion, Jones, Linn and Benton counties individually approved adding Iowa, Johnson, Dubuque and Delaware counties into the mental health region.
With a larger group, the CPCs and supervisors will then meet as needed throughout the planning process. The next group meeting was scheduled for Nov. 15.
In other county business:
• Lisa Tallman with Senior Dining, asked the Board to sign a grant application with the Jones County Endowment Fund to purchase new tables for the Anamosa and Monticello Senior Dining locations. Tallman said she looked into pricing from Welter Storage Equipment Company in Monticello. She is looking at buying a total of 14 tables.
• The Board opened bids for the courthouse generator project. They received four bids ranging in price from $111,200 to $85,000. The Board decided to have the Engineer’s Office look over the bids before awarding the project. They budgeted $75,000 towards this project.