Supervisors hold adults responsible for alcohol
Jefferson County Board of Supervisors had the first reading Monday to adopt a social host ordinance to hold adults responsible if they provide alcohol to minors or host parties that serve alcohol to those under age 21.
The ordinance was drafted by Assistant County Attorney Pat McAvan and supported by the Jefferson County Alcohol Consumption Task Force.
The ordinance needs to go through two or three public readings before supervisors adopt it. After the vote, it will be 60 days before it becomes law.
The ordinance will not have criminal penalties; instead, adults will be fined.
Prior to the first reading Monday, the supervisors held a public hearing about the ordinance.
A woman in the audience said the new law is a good idea.
“Minors can’t get alcohol without a fake I.D. or having someone 21 and older supplying it,” said Fairfield police Lt. Colin Smith. “If adults know this is the law and it will hurt their pocketbook, it will help.”
Rep. Curt Hanson attended the meeting to support the ordinance.
“Having worked 43 years with students, I wish we’d had this a long time ago,” he said.
Educating the community about the problem of underage drinking hasn’t seemed to work, said Jefferson County Sheriff Gregg Morton.
“Monetary damages may work,” he said. “It gives law enforcement more teeth. Personally I support this law, and professionally it feels like we’ve developed something enforceable.”
Fairfield Police Chief Julie Harvey said she likes the ordinance because people have to knowingly violate the law to be penalized.
“I will vote to support this ordinance,” said supervisor Dick Reed. “I’m hearing it’s enforceable and it’s a good thing.”
Supervisor chairman Lee Dimmitt said education is needed to change everyone’s social attitudes about drinking.
“Enforcing this will become an education tool and impact social attitudes,” he said.
Supervisor Becky Schmitz said the toughest age to reach about the issue are those ages 18 to 21.
The supervisors will hold a second public hearing for the ordinance at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 12.
Don Sanders, director of Jefferson County Alcohol Consumption Task Force, thanked the board.
“Our committee has been working throughout the entire community to solve the problems of alcohol abuse,” he said.
Sanders also reported 30 volunteers attended optional training regarding reading ID cards/driver’s licenses to verify ages and serving alcohol during Friday’s beverage garden being held for RAGBRAI in Fairfield.
Appointments to Area 15 Regional Planning Commission
The supervisors had planned to reappoint Paul Miller and appoint Tracy Vance to the Area 15 Regional Planning Commission a few meetings ago, when Reed had questions about the commission and the voting authority of members.
Dimmitt, who represents the county on the commission, invited director Chris Bowers to meet with the supervisors.
Bowers attended the board meeting Monday and said there was no need to appoint or reappoint any members.
“It became too big and we couldn’t get a quorum for meetings,” he said. “It’s changed now to have an executive committee of 11 people that vote. The committee has one person per [seven] county represented plus one person from smaller cities and four members from the private sector.”
Bowers explained the commission was formed in 1974 to regionalize economic development and planning because Iowa’s smaller cities can’t afford to have such staff on city government payrolls.
“We cover issues such as transportation, housing, planning and development, housing rehabilitation, downtown revitalizations and revolving loans for business development,” said Bowers.
“We respond to the needs of city and county governments.”
He added the commission also oversees Section 8 housing and has programs for home ownership.
“It’s working with Fairfield right now on a housing needs assessment,” said Vance, director of Fairfield Economic Development Association.
Roads, rocks, dust
County Engineer Scott Cline reported the 205th Street culvert is now repaired.
“It was out since the April storms,” he said. “Crews have been grading, mowing and patching throughout the county, and added rocks on shoulders along Brookville Road, the RAGBRAI route.”
The areas with added shoulder rock will get broomed this week sometime before Friday, he added.
Dimmitt said he had a phone call Sunday evening about contract rock being hauled and areas of 155th Street and Mahogany Avenue getting dusty.
“It’s just east of Highway 1 and involves three and a half blocks on 155th Street and three and a half blocks south on Mahogany,” said Dimmitt. “Can you dust proof?”
Chris Estle, attending the supervisors meeting about another issue, said her parents live out there and they have paid a private company to dust proof the gravel road. Trucks hauling of rocks to other work sites have mitigated the dust proofing.
Cline said he would take a look at the areas when the trucks are finished hauling rocks, because it wouldn’t make sense to dust proof while heavier traffic is still traveling over the roads.
“The dust control has been diminished, it’s not entirely gone,” said Cline.
Reed asked if the detour around work to remove the pony truss bridge on Brookville Road had been dust-controlled yet. Cline replied not yet, and Reed asked him to have the detour dust proofed because it creates dangerous driving conditions.
Bids came in higher than anticipated for deck repairs on the Brookville Road bridge over Mitchell Creek. Cline said he received three bids, but didn’t have the package of materials Monday to give a recommendation.
In other business, supervisors:
• Approved hiring public health employee Mandi Lauderman at Estle’s recommendation. She will replace Heather Miller who has accepted a job as a school nurse with the Fairfield Community School District.
“Mandi is a registered nurse with a master’s degree,” said Estle.
She will begin at an annual salary of $40,560, then after 90 days, will earn $42,120.
• Approved monthly salaries for part-time law enforcement personnel.
• Approved a $1,823.96 salary for a two-week period ending July 30 for the county emergency management coordinator.
• Plan to accommodate a request to meet with Sen. Mark Chelgren in the near future. The board discussed holding an evening meeting so more community members also could attend.