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Cass County Supervisors meeting recap, 9/19/23


September 19th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Atlantic, Iowa) – The Cass County Board of Supervisors heard two presentations during their meeting this (Tuesday) morning, in Atlantic. Board Chair Steve Baier kicked-off the meeting with a “public service announcement.” Baier said with the harvest season getting underway, people need to be cautious, especially on the county and rural roads, of slow-moving farm equipment. He also said there are several contractors in the county trying to get road and bridge projects completed. With the evenings getting shorter and darkness coming sooner, Baier said “People be careful out there on the roads,” as you will be sharing them with heavy equipment, not to mention deer who will be “evicted” from their traditional hiding spots within fields and woodlands. “We want everybody to stay safe,” he said.

Suzanne Watson, with Southwest Iowa Mental Health & Disabilities Services Region (SWIA MHDS), provided the Board with updates to the 28-E agreement. SWIA MHDS services a nine-county area that includes Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie, and Shelby in the State of Iowa.

Watson said the 28-E agreement changes are with regard to human services, as explained in House File 471, and the make up of SWIA-MHDS Governing Board. The agency’s newest representatives include a Deputy from Fremont County and the Juvenile Courts. She mentioned also, Cass Health has done a good job of working with families whose members need mental health services, as well as cooperating with local law enforcement to address individuals with mental health needs.

Sheriff Darby McLaren said they began utilizing the services about a year ago. On a separate note, Sheriff McLaren, representing the McLaren family, requested permission to plant a memorial tree in the courthouse yard, to replace a tree that fell during a high-wind event that took place earlier this year. He said his grandfather – who was the Cass County Assessor over 50-years ago – grandchildren and others, planted the original memorial tree and commemorated the event with a photo. Darby McLaren said they would like to hold a similar event, preferably in the northeast corner of the courtyard. The Board approved the request as presented.

The Cass County Supervisors received an update from County Environmental Health Executive Director Jotham Arber. And, County Auditor Kathy Somers discussed the impacts of HF-718 (relating to local government property taxes, budgets, information to be provided to property owners, and modifying bond procedures). Those impacts will be in effect beginning with the budget year for FY 2025.

In other business, the Board approved employment for John Johnson as Equipment Operator II, District 4 (in the Griswold area), at a probationary wage of $25.75 per hour. His employment is effective Oct. 2nd. Engineer Trent Wolken said with the resignation of a truck driver, a job notice has been posted to fill the position. Wolken also updated the Board on various bridge and box culvert projects in the County.

And, the Board acted on approving a letter of support for Iowa Western Community College (IWCC) to offer a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) program at each of the sites operated by the college (Atlantic, Clarinda, Harlan, Missouri Valley & Shenandoah). The letter and application will serve to help the college obtain a CDL Infrastructure Grant for the program. Trent Wolken said it’s been getting “harder and harder” to find employees with CDL’s, and cooperating with IWCC would help to fill the need for those qualified individuals.