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Health department, supervisors working to address space needs

Site visits scheduled for supervisors

Jasper County Board of Health members Mike Balmer and Margo Voshell continue discussions on the 
location of the health department in the basement of the annex building.
Jasper County Board of Health members Mike Balmer and Margo Voshell continue discussions on the location of the health department in the basement of the annex building.

An update on the state of the Jasper County Annex Building was given Thursday during the Jasper County Board of Health meeting. Reviews of the completed studies at the building, which houses the health department, along with clarification on space needs were given by board member Mike Balmer and chair Margot Voshell.

“There have been mold checks done, structural surveys completed on the facility,” Balmer said. “Nothing is critical at this point but the mold is an issue, especially if you are sensitive to it, but short of tearing out walls it really isn’t a problem.”

A mold study completed in April recommended mold remediation for the home care aide’s office in the basement and an assessment of the building’s exterior foundation in June recommended of a complete foundation excavation and waterproofing.

Balmer also expressed the need for more space to meet the needs of the expanding responsibilities of the Jasper County Health Department.

“I heard some of the comments after the (supervisors) board meeting. I don’t believe the board of health is just a county department wanting more space just so we can have more space,” Balmer said. “I think it’s the responsibility of the board of health and a lot of the functions of the board of health, we need a little more room for that and we have been looking for quite some time. That is a fact, it’s not just an empire building.”

Supervisor Doug Cupples attended the meeting to speak about where the board of supervisors sits and what is needed for the health department to help move the process forward.

“We need to see that, literally, visually, knowing where you want to go, all of those things,” Cupples said. “I am not promising anything but that would be easier for us to understand. Getting some nuts and bolts.”

Voshell said a productive meeting took place with the board at a previous supervisors meeting and it is doing its due diligence when making decisions on the building.

“The state of this building is all up to the supervisors in what they determine is the proper way to go,” Voshell said. “The health department still is wanting to work with supervisors to find a more appropriate space for the department of health to be, regardless of the state of the building.”

Cupples said the board is working toward finding a solution for the annex building.

“We really are doing things, just yesterday we did stuff,” Cupples said. “We want this problem solved, not just because of what the papers says, we really do want it solved.”

To further educate the supervisors on the responsibilities of public health and how counties run their health departments, three opportunities have been made available to visit neighboring departments and sit down and talk with a Iowa Department of Public Health representative. A tour of the Marion County Public Health Department will take place on Nov. 21, a second tour of the Poweshiek County Health Department is scheduled for Dec. 5 and an informative meeting with Heather Bombei, Regional Community Health Consultant for the IDPH will occur following the supervisors regular meeting on Dec. 12.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or

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