November 30, 2022

Need county services? Look for the administration building

All departments expected to be moved in by Aug. 8, some already operating

Some county departments have already moved in and are operating in the new administration building. Jasper County staff should be fully moved in to the new space sometime in August.

Some county departments have moved in to the new administration building at 315 W. Third St. N. this past week and are now operational.

Jasper County Supervisor Brandon Talsma confirmed with Newton News that the treasurer’s office, the health department, department of human services and community development have already moved in to their new office space, with more to come in the next few weeks. Everyone should be moved in by Aug. 8.

Which means ownership and responsibility of the county annex building will then be transferred to its new owner. The board of supervisors on July 26 also voted 3-0 to terminate a property lease for 114 W. Fourth St. S., the building where the health department and community development were temporarily housed.

Effective Jan. 26 the county officially notified landlord Van Dee Inc. that it will no longer rent or lease the property. Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott told supervisors it gives staff 30 days to move out and fix up the place if need be. The county is paid up for the month of August and will use the time to vacate.

Jasper County Treasurer Doug Bishop said his office move went “spectacular” and he was very proud of his crews at the driver’s license/motor vehicle and tax departments. Bishop said his staff hunkered down with maintenance workers and helped move, and his office did not have to hire anybody to help.

“We did the main move on Monday,” Bishop said. “The DOT we scheduled with them on Tuesday, which I’m glad we did we kind of broke those things up a little bit. (IT director) Ryan (Eaton) and his crew were fantastic as far as getting our equipment set up and ready to go. Then we rolled into DOT stuff on Tuesday.”

Treasurer’s office staff went through some preliminary things on Wednesday before initiating the trial period on Thursday. People had been lined up to try driver’s license and motor vehicle services. Bishop again commended Eaton and his staff for working through some “hiccups” staff experienced early on.

“The layout turned out even better than we anticipated,” Bishop said. “It started out with us basically drawing on a napkin three or four years ago and everything’s gone well. We did change a little bit. We planned on having a line set up to take them around. We’re going to try the open window concept.”

Which has worked well. The county’s department of human services had some extra chairs that were put near the handicap seats to help older folks who would like to sit down. Overall Bishop is happy with the layout and noted that most customers are sitting down and are relaxed while waiting on transactions.

“It’s just come together fantastic,” he said.

Bishop is also working with Jasper County Maintenance Director Adam Sparks, who is having Sign Pro come in to help with more signage. Otherwise, there is a great rhythm of operations going so far, Bishop said. The Monday before the supervisors meeting his office was “super busy.”

If staff can make it through that day with a new facility, new office setting, new desk setup and not knowing the exact routine, then they can make it through anything, Bishop said. And he credited that to the supervisors for allowing him to staff the appropriate amount of people for customers’ demand.

Citizens are already seeing the benefits of having a new facility housing a number of other departments. Becky Pryor, the board of health administrator, told Newton News in a past interview that the parking and handicap accessibility for the public will be a great improvement at the new administration building.

Pryor has been looking forward to having several agencies under one roof.

“This will be so much more convenient for citizens to receive services. We hope to have ‘no wrong door’ to get needed services to the residents of Jasper County. We are also excited to have meeting and conference room space which we currently do not have in our office,” Pryor said before public health moved in.

Departments that will be operating in the new administration building include:

Community development, CICS and general assistance, veterans affairs, JEDCO, human resources, genealogy, department of motor vehicles/driver’s license, the treasurer’s office, department of human services, juvenile court services, adult probation and public health.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.