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Jasper County to add IT, collections employees

Agreement approved with mining company

The total number of employees for Jasper County went up by two at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

While there wasn’t any formal hiring announced, the three supervisors did approve the creation of a new assistant position in both the Jasper County Attorney’s Office and within Jasper County Information Systems.

Both positions will be filled in the weeks ahead. The attorney’s office position will be filled by an assistant in charge of collecting court fees and other debts, while the information systems assistant will help with a wide variety of tasks, including network and cyber-security.

Jasper County Attorney Mike Jacobsen spoke during Tuesday’s meeting, pointing out 58 of Iowa’s 99 counties already use at least one assistant to help collect court debts. A statewide arrangement that begins July 1 will allow counties to keep a certain percentage of collected fees.

“Counties keep 28 percent of all money collected, and if we collect at least $100,000, we’ll receive an extra 5 percent to go to 33 percent,” Jacobsen said. “The state uses a firm in the Kansas City area called Linebarger Goggan, and they charge a fee. Forty-two counties have a person who works with the drivers license reinstatement program. We currently tell victims that we don’t do collections for restitution; we could re-coup some of that money as well.”

Jacobsen said Marion and Marshall counties both have personnel assigned to collections. Muscatine County — which is only slightly larger than Jasper in population — has two full-time staff devoted to collections, recovering about $400,000 per year, he said.

“Currently, we go after a handful of people who owe a large amount of money, but we aren’t set up formally to have anyone do that full-time,” Jacobsen said.

The third full-time position for the technology department will join Ryan Eaton and Celia Robertson in maintaining the 135-plus machines and devices used by county employees. Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott praised the hard work done by Eaton and Robertson, and said a third person is needed to help get to all the different locations around the county where support is needed.

Eaton said a new position should be created to give county employees someone to contact for help in the event of difficulties or with questions, with Robertson and himself generally freed up to work on other projects.

“This won’t be a help-desk type of position,” Eaton. “The person working on this will be a first point of contact.”

Supervisor Joe Brock said after the meeting the money needed for both positions was already earmarked during the last annual budget planning cycle.

In other business Tuesday, the board:

• Approved a 40-year agreement with Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. for work to be done on Sully Mine. There are 12 detailed points to the agreement.

• Heard from citizen Max Rayburn about concerns with the pavement condition along North Fourth Avenue East near Halter Avenue and the bridge over Elk Creek. Supervisor Denny Carpenter told Rayburn, who has complained to local government in the past about damage from ice-removal salt, that the county could easily remove all the pavement in the area and make it gravel, which didn’t please Rayburn in the least. Pam Olson of the engineer’s office said the section of North Fourth Avenue is on a list of locations set to receive upgrade work at some point.

• Approved fireworks permits for seven individuals and for Baxter Fun Days.

• Heard from Parrott, who praised his staff for their hard work in preparing for and executing a smooth primary election. Jasper was the first of the state’s 99 counties to report full results to the Secretary of State.

• Passed Resolution 1644, approving an updated list of about 100 bridges in the county that have weight restrictions.

Contact Jason W. Brooks at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or

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