County wants to review its agreement with city annually
Jefferson County Board of Supervisors agreed Monday to get on Fairfield City Council’s Nov. 25 meeting agenda to discuss the county and city 28E agreement for the Jefferson County Law Enforcement Center.
“This is a joint agreement about the law center and we probably should review it annually just to make sure we’re all on the same page,” said Supervisor Dick Reed. “I think it’s been a few years.”
Jefferson County Sheriff Gregg Morton said the law enforcement center agreement had not been reviewed since 1999.
Reed said he’d like the sheriff and Fairfield Police Chief Julie Harvey to have a discussion about each department’s needs and wants prior to the Nov. 25 city council meeting.
“Bring any requests for changes to the city council meeting,” Reed told Morton.
Supervisor chairman Lee Dimmitt reported Monday about the Oct. 23 Emergency Management Committee meeting.
“We’re moving forward to resolve issues, and appointed a personnel committee,” said Dimmitt. “The committee is to make a recommendation by Dec. 1 for review by the full board.”
Jerry Calnon, Jefferson County’s emergency management coordinator, has been ill and the committee will search for a replacement to hire.
The personnel committee includes Morton, Harvey, Fairfield Fire Chief Scott Vaughan, David Spees and Jefferson County Public Health administrator Chris Estle.
Also at the Oct. 23 meeting, Morton was selected chairman and Dimmitt, vice chairman of the emergency management committee.
In his weekly report to the supervisors, Jefferson County Engineer Scott Cline said the 45 mph speed limit signs had been placed along 170th Street in Maharishi Vedic City.
Cline also reported on attending a Fall Safety School sponsored by Iowa State University in Ottumwa.
Reed asked if it included discussions about employee safety.
“With snow plow season coming up, I’m always concerned about employee safety,” said Reed. “Do the crews use the proper lights on plows, when patching concrete is there enough signage to notify traffic and keep our workers safe?”
Cline said it wasn’t specifically about employee safety.
“It was more about road safety such as wide shoulders and rumble strips on sides of roads,” said Cline.
Morton and Dimmitt both expressed concern about Pleasant Plain Road not having wide shoulders.
“Each county will develop a safety plan and IDOT will pay for a consultant to come in and develop and review the plan,” said Cline. “All 99 counties are supposed to do this. It’s developed off a plan from Minnesota. The Legislature wants to know what all the counties’ needs are.”
Reed said having a consultant may show what Jefferson County’s needs are, but having use of the money paid to a consultant used instead to fix some of the issues, “We could get something done.”
Cline said the program would only do a few counties per year. Jefferson County will not be among the first because the six counties that sent representatives to review the program in Minnesota will be first.
“I’ll sign up for the consultant,” said Cline.
Dimmitt reported the 10-15 Transit will be changing behind the scenes, but none of the changes will affect its service to the public.
“10-15 Transit will assume the employer relationship,” he said. “The system has operated with its own funds and revenue but the city of Ottumwa has been the employer, hiring drivers and all.
“We’re hoping the transition will be effective Jan. 1, and all the drivers, maintenance workers and dispatchers will be employed by 10-15 Transit instead of Ottumwa. All drivers will have the same hours, wages and benefits they have now.”
The change is due to the new health care laws. Transit 10-15 by itself will be under the 50 employees threshold and not have to provide health insurance benefits. If it stayed with the city of Ottumwa, it would not meet the under 50 threshold and would need to offer and pay health care benefits.
Dimmitt said 10-15 Transit is searching for an administrator, and a new lease agreement for office space will be needed.
“The riding public will not see any differences,” said Dimmitt.