Tradition goes out the window
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
Although Henry County has approved permits for individuals wanting to set off fireworks in the past, it won’t be so easy anymore.
“Our tradition goes out the window,” Supervisor Chairman Gary See commented on Thursday morning, shortly before the supervisors denied resident’s request for a permit to set off fireworks in June.
Previously, with approval from the local fire chief, the board of supervisors approved fireworks permits. They were set to do so on Tuesday morning when it was brought to the board’s attention that these permits are meaningless as fireworks are illegal in the state of Iowa, and the permit does not protect individuals from being charged.
After tabling the discussion Tuesday and consulting County Attorney Darin Stater, the supervisors voted to deny the permit based on Iowa Code 727.2, which reads:
“However, the council of a city or a county board of supervisors may, upon application in writing, grant a permit for the display of fireworks by municipalities, fair associations, amusement parks, and other organizations or groups of individuals approved by the city or the county board of supervisors when the fireworks display will be handled by a competent operator, but no such permit shall be required for the display of fireworks at the Iowa state fairgrounds by the Iowa state fair board, at incorporated county fairs, or at district fairs receiving state aid.”
This code section would permit organizations or cities to have fireworks displays for the Fourth of July, for example, but Stater did not think it applies to individuals.
“In my opinion, that does not cover an individual that wants to shoot off fireworks,” said Stater.
The supervisors will be discussing and altering the county’s procedure for approving permits on Tuesday, April 30.
In other business Thursday morning, the supervisors accepted the resignation of County Engineer Bill Belzer.
The supervisors received a letter from Belzer dated April 19 giving his 90-day notice as he has accepted a position as the engineer in Iowa County.
Belzer has been at a conference in Des Moines this week, but in a phone conversation on Tuesday afternoon he said the position in Iowa County is “just a good opportunity.”
He was not sure on Tuesday afternoon when his last day in Henry County would be.
Belzer has been the engineer in Henry County since January 2001. Prior to that he worked for Clinton County for five years.
The supervisors also heard an update from County CPC (central point of coordination) Sarah Kaufman.
She provided the supervisors with a first draft of a response to the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) in regards to the letter of intent submitted by the mental health region being formed in Southeast Iowa, tentatively named Six Keys Regional Access.
DHS had written to the region requesting information that was missing from that letter of intent. According to legislation on mental health regionalization, the region must be contracted with a health center that provides psychiatric services and also a Mental Health Institute.
The region currently has neither of these, but that is because doing so is not possible, noted Kaufman, as the region is still being formed and technically does not exist yet.
“We don’t exist. We are not a legal entity. We cannot contract,” said Kaufman. “Our region cannot ask someone to contract with us when we can’t exist.”
Furthermore, Kaufman noted, MHI does not enter into contracts for services, so even when the region becomes a legal entity, it will not be able to contract with MHI.
In other business, the supervisors:
• Approved a resolution supporting Winfield-Mt. Union Community School District and Southeastern Community College’s efforts to develop a regional academy in Winfield.
• Approved a WorkSTEPS contract with Muscatine Physical Therapy Services. The WorkSTEPS program tests employees’ functional capabilities to perform their job and ensures they are completing an appropriate level of tasks when returning to work after an injury.
• Approved drug and alcohol use policies to be added to the employee handbook.