Mt Pleasant News

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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 21, 2018

It’s official — state will transfer land to the county for jail project

Oct 13, 2017
Photo by: File photo The area pictured, located northwest of the tennis court at the rear of the former Mt. Pleasant Mental Health Institute, will be the location of the new county law enforcement center/jail. The Iowa Department of Corrections Board of Directors unanimously approved the transfer of a 6.2-acre tract of land to Henry County. The paved road closest to the top of the photo is Grand Avenue.

By Brooks Taylor, Mt. Pleasant News


Henry County supervisors have received what they have been waiting for — minutes from the Oct. 6 Iowa Board of Corrections meeting in Des Moines.

Supervisor Greg Moeller was told Oct. 6 by Michael Savala, Department of Corrections legal counsel, that the board unanimously approved the transfer of state land at the Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility (the 6.2 tract of land is located northwest of the former Mental Health Institute) to Henry County for a new law enforcement facility.

Last month officials from the Iowa Department of Corrections and Department of Administrative Services met with Mt. Pleasant and Henry County officials to discuss the proposal.

In the Board of Corrections minutes, it was stated, “The Department of Corrections expressed an interest in incorporating the new law enforcement center in to its current operations at the correctional facility by having prison inmates prepare the meals for the jail and sharing equipment with the county to maintain the grounds.”

Members of the Board of Corrections unanimously approved the land transfer.

Although no financial consideration was mentioned in the minutes, Moeller said that when local leaders met with state officials, the county said it would pay for the survey and updating the abstract.

Supervisor Gary See said he is concerned about a meals and grounds maintenance sharing arrangement with the state. “I would rather not have a signed agreement but an understanding that we would reimburse them (the state). It (sharing) could start out well and then go south.”

Supervisors are expected to finalize the selection of a site for the new county law enforcement center/jail possibly as early as next week.

In a related matter, supervisors during Thursday’s meeting approved a resolution for an inter-fund transfer of not more than $300,000 from the economic development fund to the capital improvement fund.

“It is basically a loan (to cover expenses for the new law enforcement center) so we don’t have to borrow money,” explained County Auditor Shelly Barber. “When the bonds (for the center) are sold, we will put the money back into the economic development fund.”

The majority of funds currently in the economic development fund are proceeds from the sale of county land south of Hy-Vee for the construction of a new nursing home.

The only other item of business on the agenda was approval of the final plat of Bear Country Estates in section 23 of Baltimore Township (southeast of New London). Two couples are creating a 14-lot housing subdivision on the 57 acres included in Bear Creek Estates.

Marc Lindeen, chairman of the supervisors, reported on the meeting of Southeast Iowa Community Action. He said that during the agency’s fiscal year (which was from Oct. 1, 2016 to Oct. 1, 2017) aid was given to 1,017 households in Henry County. The aid amounted to $447,053. A majority of the funds went to heating assistance and winter weatherization projects, Lindeen said.

Supervisors meet again Tuesday, Oct. 17, at 9 a.m. at the courthouse.

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