'Six Keys Regional Access' chosen as tentative handle for southeast Iowa mental health region
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
The mental health region being formed in Southeast Iowa now has a tentative name — Six Keys Regional Access.
Sarah Kaufman, Henry County CPC (central point of coordination), told the board of supervisors during the monthly department head meeting on Thursday morning that this name has been emailed around the six counties forming the region and has been met with approval.
Those six counties — Henry, Keokuk, Washington, Lee, Des Moines and Louisa — will be meeting today (Friday) to work on the 28E agreement that will determine how the region will function.
Mental health redesign in the state of Iowa has determined that the counties form regions for mental health service in an attempt to equalize services across the state. The state expects the region to be functioning by July 1, 2014.
Kaufman also told the supervisors that there is legislation to move the patient advocate position under the jurisdiction of the Department of Inspections and Appeals, which would make the position the responsibility of the state instead of the county.
Kaufman noted that the bill has passed the Senate and a House judiciary committee and now needs to pass the House.
“Overall I hope it moves forward,” said Kaufman. “That way that gives them some supervision and supervisory support.”
Currently the patient advocates do not really have a supervisor for their position. The court appoints the patient advocate, but the county pays for the position.
In other department head news:
Sheriff Rich McNamee said that his department has opened hiring back up. He noted he is still looking for a deputy sheriff and they are down one jailer.
McNamee gave the supervisors some data, noting that the department spent over 239 hours patrolling municipalities in February, which is more than double the 117 hours the department spent patrolling in February 2012. However, the number of arrests and citations remained the same.
Requests for weapons permits have gone up, and the sheriff’s department issued 34 permits in February.
“For us, that’s quite a few,” said McNamee, who said it is usually below 10.
Assessor Gary Dustman announced that assessment notices will be going out soon. He noted that the agricultural land value is going up 30 percent, but he noted that the taxable value will not be changing because of the rollback.
County Auditor Shelly Barber said that all of the budgets have been sent in and certified except for the school districts — which don’t need to be in until April 15 — and one city that has an extension.
She noted that she has not heard anything from the Mt. Pleasant Benefited Fire Department, which could result in them not receiving tax revenue.
“If a budget is not filed by June 15, then there are no tax dollars for that entity,” said Barber.
If a budget is not filed by March 15, the entity’s tax revenue remains the same as it was the current year.
In other business, the three county department heads were recognized by the Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC) for their years of service in Henry County government and were presented with certificates by Chairman Gary See.
McNamee was recognized for 15 years with Henry County, Dustman has 35 years with the county and Recorder Shirley Wandling has worked for Henry County for 40 years.