Cherokee Area Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Mark Buschkamp updated the Cherokee Board of Supervisors on the Iowa government reorganization regarding Iowa House Amendment 8045 and Iowa Senate File 2088, which charges the possible closure of one of the four state mental health institutes.
The state formed a task force to recommend which MHI to close, and after site visits to all four institution, the task force recommended to the Iowa Department of Health not to close any of the hospitals.
The Iowa Department of Health recommended to the state that the Mt. Pleasant facility be closed. Then, largely ignoring the recommendations that the state asked for, a movement in the Iowa Senate, led by State Senator Jack Hatch, D-Des Moines, proposed downsizing the Clarinda mental Health Institute.
If this plan is adopted,it would move the children and adolescent units of both Clarinda and Cherokee to Independence; elderly Iowans in Clarinda's gero-psychiatric program would either go the Glenwood Resource Center(a state-run facility for people with mental disabilities), to the Iowa Veterans Home, or to other nursing homes. The adult psychiatric program at Clarinda would move to Cherokee.
Buschkamp is clearly not advocating the closure of any of the Mental Health Institutes, and he has been in Des Moines several times to keep Cherokee's interests known to law-makers.
Buschkamp also sought the Board's permission to organize a busload of key people, such as the members of the Cherokee City Council and Board of Supervisors, to travel to Des Moines on March 10. It was Buschkamp's opinion that this would be an effective effort to "put a face on Cherokee and Northwest Iowa" to lawmakers during the Iowa government reorganization.
In other business, Dave Shanahan, County Engineer and Marty Jenness, Assistant to the Engineer, reviewed some of their office's five-year construction plans that dealt with road and bridge repair throughout Cherokee County, and also discussed general business.
Deputy Assessor Nancy Nelson and Auditor's Assistant Kris Witcombe addressed the Board about the mailing of the Disallowance of Family Farm Credit. Nelson and Witcombe stated that 90 percent of homeowners don't apply for the credit, and the mailing would keep them better informed.
In most cases, this disallowance is because homeowners have not re-applied for the credit after they purchased their property. It is also stated in the mailing that if an owner feels this disallowance is in error, they can contact the Auditor's office in writing within 30 day of the mailing.
The Board also ratified labor contract agreements with both the Cherokee County Law Enforcement Center and the DEpt. of Secondary Roads.
Final payout of $3,896 in vacation compensation for retiring Deputy Sheriff Fred Claycamp, and also approved a wage authorization of $19.96 per hour for Joshua Douglas of the Sheriff's Department for completing his six-months' probation period.