Louisa County asks for help with new mental health law | Local

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JIM RUDISIL

WAPELLO — It took two meetings, but the Louisa County Board of Supervisors sent a letter Tuesday to the Iowa Department of Management asking for advice on implementing a tax law that shifts mental health funding from counties to the state.

In 2023, Iowa will disband Fund 10, which is used to pay administrative costs for county mental health/disability services. Eventually, the state will bear all costs, but that leaves counties uncertain about how to handle county employees who perform regional functions.

These employees are currently paid by Fund 10.

Supervisors agreed Aug. 17 to send a letter prepared by Southeast Iowa Mental Health and Disability Services Area LINK, but the action was postponed because it was not on the agenda for this meeting. Instead, the council had asked County Auditor Sandi Sturgell to send the same letter from her office. She told the board on Tuesday that she had sent her letter, and the board then officially approved sending hers.

The letter also asks for explanations before the counties begin budget planning in December for the 2023 fiscal year.

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Supervisors also received the department’s monthly update for County Emergency Management Services, E911 and Safety Programs from Director Brian Hall.

He told the board that he had submitted a notice of interest for funding from the U.S. federal recovery program to cover COVID-19-related expenses. He said no set amount was announced for each claimant, so the county’s final reimbursement amount would be determined by the number of claims.

Hall estimated that Louisa County should receive about $7,000.

He also said the Louisa County Emergency Management Agency will meet on Wednesday to consider a budget amendment to cover a recent grant from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation.

Hall said he continues to seek quotes to install panic button systems in the county annex building. It had also included the Secondary Roads Department, but officials there had advised that this was not necessary as they had not had any disruptions in the past.

Supervisors ordered Hall to continue with the secondary roads plan, saying they wanted to stay proactive with the alarms.

Hall also said contingency planning for accidents involving livestock and hazardous materials is progressing.

Moving on to his E911 duties, Hall reported that a new repeater had finally been installed, which should improve emergency communications in the county.

On safety issues, Hall said he continues to coordinate with county departments on safety meetings and updating MSDSs.

County Engineer Adam Shutt also presented his weekly department update. He said work continues on the department’s new Columbus Junction maintenance yard salt shed.

Shutt and the supervisors also discussed the department’s current policy on road capping. Shutt said capping helps roads drain and be maintained more efficiently.

• Accepted an offer of $3,800 from Matt Connolly for a 2013 Ford Explorer.

• Approved a payment of $3,356 for vacation and occasional days to Darin Mapel, who recently resigned from the secondary roads department.

• Approval of a Windstream application to place a service line under S Avenue.

Shutt and supervisors were also recognized for their help in resolving a drainage issue near Fredonia. Fredonia Councilman Rob Bright presented plaques to county officials.

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