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County plans to upgrade its telephone system

Officials elected for CICSR

Jasper County IT Director Ceilia Robertson and Jasper County Information Systems Network Administrator Ryan Eaton presented bids for a new county-wide phone system to the Jasper County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

“Currently, we have several phone systems in the county,” Robertson said. “Many of them are falling apart and we need to do something. So, now is the time to look at a system that we can implement the same phone county-wide. By putting a voice system in there will be a cost savings and many counties did it five to six years ago.”

Although Pleasant Hill-based Communication Innovators placed a low bid of $72,656.33, Eaton and Robertson recommended that the county accept the bid of $99,940.82 from Cedar Rapids-based United Business Technologies and the Shortel system they would implement.

Robertson pointed out the fact that UBT had successfully installed the Shortel phone system in Johnson County while still maintaining the county’s existing emergency phone services. She also estimated that between the next three to five years the county could save between $24,000 to $30,000 on monthly phone services.

Eaton acknowledged the $27,000 price difference between the bids, but said UBT’s experience in the matter and making sure that procedure is done correctly could prevent future costs.

“I have full confidence in your recommendation,” board member Joe Brock said.

“Fact is, it’s time. We were going to upgrade one way or another,” board chair Dennis Stevenson said.

In the end, the board accepted the bid from UBT.

Jasper County Community Services Director/Central Point Coordinator Jody Eaton gave the board an update on the regionalization efforts the county has been a part of. Central Iowa Community Services Region, which Jasper County officially became a part of on June 25, is a mental health service region that includes Boone, Franklin, Hamilton, Hardin, Madison, Marshall and Story counties.

Eaton informed the board that Warren County is more than likely about to become the ninth member of the region and officers were elected to several positions. Story County Board of Supervisors member Wayne Clinton was elected as chair of the CICSR Governing Board. Franklin County Board of Supervisors member Michael Nolte was elected vice-chair. Eaton was elected recording secretary.

An election was also held for CICSR’s initial management team, all of whom also serve as CSD’s in their current counties. Josh Grush of Boone/Madison counties will serve as CEO, Deb Schildroth of Story County will serve as vice-chair and Eaton was elected secretary.

The selection of positions falls in line with the regions plans for the 2014 fiscal/transition year. Eaton also touched upon CICSR’s financial matters, which also fall in line with the 2014 plan.

“Madison County has been selected as (the) fiscal agent,” Eaton said. “Fiscal policies have been approved and a finance committee has been appointed. (County Treasurer) Doug Bishop has agreed to serve on that committee. This year, a portion of the fund balances from each county will be pooled. Counties in need, can draw from this pool to avoid region wait-lists for consumers.”

Eaton assured the board any county that would want to dip into the fund balance would need approval from the governing board. And until regions are fully active, counties should continue to budget individually.

Eaton also informed the board next week, the governing board would have a draft of CICSR’s bylaws for the county’s consideration.

“I am excited about the future of CICSR and (Central Iowa Recovery), but there is still much to accomplish,” Eaton said.

“They are a great group to work with and they share the same values and goals that we do,” Brock said.

A public hearing was set for Sept. 10 at 9:30 a.m. at the request of County Sanitarian Kevin Luetters. The board received a request from Judson Vos of Lynn Grove Township to expand his hog confinement facility. His proposal would create two new 1,200-hog finisher barns. The public is allowed to submit comments to the Jasper County Environmental Health Office located at 115 N. Second Ave. E. in Newton, until Sept. 9.

The public has been allowed to request an inspection of the site since Monday and have until Sept. 9 to do so in between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Luetters’ also informed the board the information had been published in several news publications.

In other business:

• Jasper County Maintenance Supervisor Adam Sparks presented two bids to the board. The first bid was for painting the outside of the Jasper County Community Center and the low bid of $4,600 from Indianola-based Labertew Painting was accepted.

• The low bid of $4,200 was accepted from Newton-based Plumb Construction to upgrade sidewalks and driveways on county properties.

• The board approved the 2012 tax levies that are payable to 2013-14 tax levies.

• The Newton Athletic Booster Club received permission to use the courthouse grounds for a homecoming taco feed on Sept. 12.

• Transfer Orders 1306,1307, and 1308 were approved. Combined, the three orders totaled $1,259,263.44 and will transfer into the general basic, general supplemental, and rural services funds.

• County Engineer Russ Stutt will be seeking permission to purchase 2.42-acres of emergent wetland and 0.55-acres of forested wetland from HUC 8 Inc. for $120,000. The purchase allows the county to satisfy mitigation offset requirements for unavoidable disruption of existing or emergent wetlands and to begin a new bridge project.

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