Van Buren County seeks helping hand from Henry County CPC
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
Van Buren County wants the Henry County CPC (central point of coordination) to lend them a hand.
Henry County CPC Sarah Kaufman told the board of supervisors on Thursday morning that she received an email from Van Buren County CPC Karen Ruppert. Ruppert has resigned her position effective May 10, and she has asked Kaufman to help provide CPC services for Van Buren County until mental health regionalization goes into effect July 1, 2014 and the CPC function is eliminated.
Ruppert also wanted to know if Van Buren County could join the region being formed in Southeast Iowa.
However, allowing Van Buren County into the region is not up to Henry County to decide, as there are five other counties in the planned region.
“If they really want to join the region, they will have to make a formal request to all six counties,” said Kaufman.
That mental health region, tentatively named Six Keys Regional Access, currently consists of Henry, Washington, Lee, Louisa, Des Moines and Keokuk counties.
Initially, Van Buren County was involved in the region, but when it came time to send in the letter of intent in February, Van Buren County was stalling and was left out of the planned region, Kaufman noted.
“We just kind of abandoned them because they weren’t ready to go,” said Kaufman. “The six of us left them in their dust and submitted our letter of intent.”
Letters of intent were due to the state on April 1, so now Van Buren County is not in compliance because they did not have a letter, noted Kaufman.
As far as filling in until regionalization begins, Kaufman and the Henry County supervisors will be meeting with the Van Buren County Board of Supervisors on Monday morning to find out their intentions and what they would expect of Kaufman.
Kaufman noted that providing CPC services on a daily basis would not be feasible.
“We cannot provide daily coverage for that county,” she said.
Supervisor Vice Chairman Marc Lindeen suggested providing assistance until Van Buren County joins a region, whichever region ends up being, but Supervisor Chairman Gary See was hesitant to commit to 14 months.
“I’m a little gun shy on the 14 month scenario,” noted See. He suggested possibly offering assistance for a few months to begin with and having the option to extend assistance if it works well.
In other business, the supervisors met with Chief Deputy Tracy Brooks to discuss the construction of a storage building on the property by the Henry County Sheriff’s office.
Plans are to install a 40’x60’ pole building with a concrete floor on the southwest corner of the sheriff department’s property. Inside the building, there will be a 20-foot area accessed by an interior door for storage, and the remaining 40’x40’ area would store the department’s ATV, speed trailer and larger impounded items that need to be secured, such as vehicles.
A building this size is double the size first presented to the supervisors by Sheriff Rich McNamee last month. At that time, McNamee was told to plan for extra space for future expansion.
“We encouraged him to think bigger for the future,” said Supervisor Chairman Gary See.
Brooks said that the sheriff’s department will be able to use the space, though the contents being stored there will vary.
“There might be more room one week and completely full the next,” said Brooks.
The supervisors advised that the department check with the City of Mt. Pleasant to make sure that the plans are acceptable and then put out a notice that bids are being accepted.
Currently the sheriff’s department is renting a 35’x35’ building at the former county home. The new building will eliminate the need for that building.
The supervisors also appointed David George to the Southeast Iowa Regional Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.