At Tuesday's meeting of the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors, County Emergency Management Coordinator Ben Shuberg presented Board members with his well-thought-out proposal, complete with photos, to bring the County Emergency Operations Center up-to-date. Shuberg states that the facilities and equipment currently in use in Cherokee County are inadequate, as demonstrated by an after-action report of an exercise held in September 2011. The current EOC, Shuberg said, consists of tables and chairs, with a lack of an infrastructure including access to internet, phone lines and a FAX machine. Base radios to allow communication with responders are also currently not available in the EOC, and the computers and display equipment they have are outdated and do not meet today's needs.
With the current equipment and facilities, said Shuberg, he does not feel he is able to adequately fulfill his job duties as Emergency Management Coordinator, to wit, "when an emergency or disaster occurs, the emergency management coordinator shall provide coordination and assistance to the governing officials of the municipalities and the county."
Shuberg is requesting a total of up to $25,000 worth of equipment, including some or all of the following: printer, projector, two computers, two large-screen televisions, and digital radios. His proposal for the location of the EOC is the training room in the Sheriff's Department, due to its security, 24/7 access and close proximity to the Communications Center.
No action was taken at Tuesday's meeting, but the Supervisors requested to visit the current and/or proposed new location to get a better understanding of the situation, and this will on next Tuesday's agenda.
Shuberg and Engineer Dave Shanahan also discussed the proposal to install a larger garage door for the storage shed for the County Emergency Equipment which was approved at last week's meeting. It turns out that the proposed opening would not be quite big enough for the equipment, so a different solution will be sought, such as building a new building, or perhaps even finding another building to rent.
Shanahan received Board approval on his final plans for Project #SBRFMCO18(62)-5D-18, the bridge at Washta. He also said that rain over the past few days has slowed other projects, including the bridge in Diamond Township, which remains closed. His department is also hoping to get some patching done on county roads C-38 and M-21 prior to the upcoming RAGBRAI event.
County Treasurer Hedgie Brandt spoke to the Board about Office Business. The person who has been doing the driving testing for CDL and motorcycle licenses wishes to cease doing that. She wants to be able to maintain the ability of Cherokee County to provide this testing and the Supervisors agree that this would certainly be preferable to having Cherokee County residents have to travel some distance to get this service. A search for a replacement will be sought.
In other business, Dwight Lang and Kristi Quinn, representatives of the Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council (SIMPCO) presented a proposed amendment to the county's Hazard Mitigation Contract with SIMPCO, and after much discussion, Chairman Schmidt signed off on the change.
Lindsay Bressler from the Geographic Information Systems department, presented the Supervisors with an update on the meetings of the County employees' Wellness Committee. Bressler said that the committee wants to stress the importance of county employees' "overall wellness" - not only through regular exercise, but also through eating a healthy diet and maintaining good mental health. She discussed the possibility of the county providing its employees with assistance to fund memberships at the Cherokee Wellness Center or wellness facilities in other county towns, if the employee is not a resident of Cherokee. Bressler will report back to the Supervisors at a future meeting, when she has more facts and figures - such as the number of employees who are genuinely interested and the costs involved. Bressler said that the county's first "Wellness Event" will be the CRMC 5k run/walk, which will be in October.
Fireworks permits were approved for Larry Prell, Debbie Robb, Rick Westphal,Roger Ashbaugh and James Steffen.
The Board met with County Attorney Ryan Kolpin in closed session, per Iowa Code Chapter 21.5(1)(c), "to discuss strategy with counsel in matters that are presently in litigation or where litigation is imminent, where its disclosure would be likely to prejudice or disadvantage the position of the governmental body in that litigation."
The Board authorized Ryan Kolpin and Phil Redenbaugh to proceed with settlement of a legal claim on behalf of the county.