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IA County Lowers
Mental Health Levy
Newton Daily News (IA) - 7/9/2012
Jasper County taxpayers who have complained in the past that their taxes never go down can complain no more. Thanks to a redesign of the Adult Mental Health and Disabilities System, the Jasper County Board of Supervisors was able to significantly reduce the mental health levy for next fiscal year.
The supervisors decreased the mental health levy from $2.272 per $1,000 of valuation to $1.457 per $1,000 valuation, effective for the fiscal year 2012-2013 budget, which begins on July 1. That decreased the budget by $1,081,660. Mental health services are expected to remain at the current level.
Community Services Director Jody Eaton announced earlier this month that Jasper County is joining a consortium of three other counties, including Poweshiek, Marion and Mahaska to implement the Adult Mental Health System. The state will now cover the non-federal share of waiver services, lowering the costs for the county by more than $1 million. The levy is the lowest tax asking in the last eight years in Jasper County.
The action finally brings Jasper County in line with the rest of Iowa counties in mental health levy rates. The county had been locked into the higher rates, which had been set when the county’s care facility was in operation.
The new tax levy for next fiscal year for rural Jasper County residents will be $11.11 per $1,000 valuation, down from the certified $11.92 per $1,000 valuation. For residents in incorporated areas, the levy rate goes from $8.48 to $7.66.
In other action Tuesday, the supervisors:
--Heard the final annual report from Jasper County Economic Development Corp. (JEDCO) Director Craig Hamilton. Hamilton’s last day as director is Friday, June 29, when Newton Mayor Chaz Allen will take over.
Hamilton noted some bright spots in Jasper County’s economic recovery, including a retooling at TPI and an increase in its workforce, as well as steady growth from Caleris and Trinity Structural Towers.
Allen said he plans to transition out of his mayoral position, with his last day as mayor on Sept. 30.
The supervisors also approved county funding for JEDCO for next fiscal year in the amount of $72,000.
--Recently, the Board of Supervisors were informed that although the Veterans Affairs Director is hired by the Veterans Affairs Board, his salary is set by the supervisors. The supervisors approved a salary of $43,827 beginning July 1.
--Approved funding allocation for Heart of Iowa Regional Transportation Agency. The county will pay HIRTA $32,785, to be paid in monthly increments of approximately $2,732. HIRTA Director July Castillo told the supervisors that approximately 300 riders per month use the service. Rates have been lowered to $2 per ride.
--Approved plans for a bridge replacement project on S. 52nd Ave. E. over Sugar Creek. Letting for the project is scheduled for September, with work to be completed this fall or next spring. The bridge at that location is currently closed to traffic.
--Made the following appointments to area boards and committees: Kelli Van Manen to Aging Resources of Central Iowa; Karl MacVey and June Anderson to Animal Control and Welfare Board; Carol Diekema to the Jasper County Animal Rescue League; Bill Ponder and Beverly Cross to the Cemetery Commission; Marlene Stout to Central Iowa Regional Housing Authority, and Nancy Watt as alternate; Russ Stutt as representative and Pam Olson as alternate to Central Iowa Regional Transportation Planning Alliance; Gary Dodds to Civil Service Commission; Keri VanZante to Des Moines Recreational River and Greenbelt Advisory Council; Max Worthington to DHS Decategorization Board; Jody Eato to Emergency Food and Shelter Program; Joe Pugel, Bev Price and Tina Mulgrew to the Enterprize Zone Commission; Donald Osborn to Walnut Creek Benefited Fire District; Dwight Fishers to West Malaka Benefited Fire District; Larry Ryan to Grinnell Airport Zoning Commission; Lisa Jansen to Jasper County Library Board representing Prairie City, William Zylstra for City of Sully and Marlis Van Zante for rural Lynnville; and Marta Ford to the Veterans’ Affairs Commission.
John Jennings can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 425 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.