The Mid-Iowa Behavioral Health Region discussion was again a major topic of discussion in Monday’s meeting of the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors.
In the last meeting, Julie Bak joined the Board to discuss the options as it appears the state of Iowa is not pleased with how the two-county region of Marion and Mahaska Counties are operating in terms of their mental health. Now, the Board has until August 1st to come to an idea of what to do: either join a new region or try to address the problems within the two-county region.
Julie Bak sent a letter to Marion County to outline a potential plan but received no response as of this week’s meeting. Vice-Chair Willie VanWeelden thinks Mahaska County should just think for itself at the moment and look at other options. Supervisor Mike VanderMolen agreed and specified joining the region to the north that includes Poweshiek and Jasper Counties. Chair Mark Doland was against that idea, feeling as though it compromises what the county was trying to accomplish within the mental health field in the last couple of years.
“It completely changes the outlook that we’ve put together the last two and half years,” Doland said. “To scrap that now, I think, is foolish.”
VanderMolen and VanWeelden countered with the notion that the state in all likelihood not allow the two-county region to continue, and if there is no plan, would force the counties into a different region. If a plan to move is adopted prior to the deadline, the Board at least would have chosen which region to move into.
A special meeting to finalize the plans has been scheduled, and will occur this Wednesday, July 22nd, at 1:30 PM at the Mahaska County Courthouse.
Another major item on the agenda was the Regional Collection Center presentation, outlining how Mahaska County could safely dispose of hazardous materials. Mahaska County is one of only six counties in Iowa that is not covered by some form of hazardous waste plan.
Kathleen Hennings of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources described the three options that Mahaska County could take.
The largest is to use what is called a “main facility,” which is a large building that houses the materials and organizes cleanup from other smaller collection sites. This would cost $4,012.32 to operate each year, and would require an existing building dedicated to the effort.
The second option is to have a satellite facility that houses the materials, and is picked up by a main facility once or twice a year. The operating cost for one of these is around $3,939.
Finally, the last option is the county organizes a couple of collection events per year for the hazardous materials. There would be a trailer that is used to handle the disposed materials, but would require the citizens to hold onto their materials for long periods of time, which can be a dangerous idea with the potential for hazardous scenarios. This would cost between $3,000 to $6,000, depending on the size of the event.
If there are any questions regarding this issue, the public is encouraged to contact Kathleen Hennings of the Iowa DNR at 515-725-8359, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other action:
– The Board accepted the dissolution of Lynndana Sanitary Sewer District, which
allows Mahaska Rural Water to take over the district.
– The Board did not take action on joining with the Cedar Creek Watershed project
to help with farmers who deal with overflow from the creek. There was no support
for the motion from VanWeelden, but there likely will be more discussion on the
issue in the near future as more information is gathered.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors will
take place on Monday, August 3rd, at 9 AM at the Mahaska County Courthouse on the
square in Oskaloosa.