County approves resource officer for Benton Community

Benton County Supervisors meeting, June 16, 2020

VINTON – Benton County’s Board of Supervisors approved an agreement with Benton Community for a resource officer at the school, at their meeting Tuesday, June 16, at the courthouse in Vinton.

Sheriff Ron Tippett reported the school would like this to be a year-round position, and the school is paying the salary and benefits for the entire year. The county will pay for a car, possible overtime and training. Tippett said they will “back fill” this position from within the department.

Action was to be taken by the Benton school board at their Wednesday, June 17, meeting in Van Horne. It was approved at that meeting.

Sheriff Ron Tippett signs paperwork to make Tyler Brandt (left) Benton Community’s new school resource officer. (Photo from Benton Sheriff’s Office)

Tippett received the supervisors’ approval to proceed.

Training is scheduled for July and early August, Tippett said.

Tippett said the officer is Deputy Tyler Brandt. Three were interviewed and Brandt came out as the top candidate. Brandt lives in Belle Plaine. The school would like him to start in the high school in the morning, and then visit other centers in other communities.

Supervisor Chairman Richard Primmer felt that having a squad car presence will help the communities.

Historical

Allison Hicks and other members of Benton County Historic Preservation Commission met with the board regarding the purchase of a copy machine. Primmer questioned the need for a machine of that magnitude. The machine cost $3,500, and he questioned having that for a part-time office. It was also purchased from a company with whom the county does not have a contract.

Benton County Attorney David Thompson said the commission has been talking about the need for a machine for a long time, but has never had a place to have one. They now have a part-time office in the service center. The machine does the things they need, including printing on 11×17-inch paper. He added that if the commission wanted to purchase this, the supervisors can’t say “no.”

Hicks stressed they needed a copier that uses toner instead of cartridges. Thompson added they need a machine that collates.

Supervisor Tracy Seeman stressed he was not saying the commission didn’t deserve the machine. He wondered if there was a cheaper alternative.

Primmer concluded the office was well within its budget and had the approval of its commission. “We don’t have any say … bottom line,” Primmer observed. “We don’t have to like it.” This is why Primmer had the claim put on hold.

Commission members stressed the supervisors have the right to question it. The machine will benefit the commission and the county through grants. The board then approved the claim.

Conservation

Conservation Director Karen Phelps updated the board on the conservation budget, the purchase of a mower, and speed limit signs in the parks. The conservation board is also looking at a mini-excavator, if the department proves they need it.

As for parks, they have been full and things are going very well. This Friday they hope to go to Level 3, allowing use of cabins and shelters. They are undecided on opening the nature center.

Engineer

The board took the following action with Myron Parizek, county engineer.

  • Approve IDOT Agreement for County Bridge Federal-Aid SWAP Funding for bridge habilitation on V66 over Prairie Creek
  • Approve Utility Permit for USA Communications in Iowa, Leroy, St Clair, Union & Eldorado Townships.
  • Approve purchase of used 2015 Caterpillar 140M3 Motor Grader from Mid Country Machinery
  • Sign Title Sheet for Bridge Replacement project on 16th Ave, Leroy Township
  • Sign Title Sheet for Bridge Replacement project on 30th Ave Dr, Canton Township
  • Sign Title Sheet for Bridge Replacement project on 22nd Ave, Cedar Township
  • Approve Purchase Agreement for temporary & permanent easement for bridge replacement project in Cedar Township on 22nd Ave
  • Approve Purchase Agreement(s) for permanent easements for bridge replacement project in Harrison Township on 24th Ave Dr.
  • Seeman presented pictures of trees in an alley in Watkins, questioning who owns the alley and who is responsible for the trees.

Other business

The Benton County Courthouse officially opened Monday, June 15, by appointment.

Scott Hansen of Benton County Emergency Management Service updated the board on pagers and towers. The board approved the purchase of an existing tower near Mount Auburn.

A service agreement was amended between Watershed Management Authority and the East Central Iowa Council of Governments.

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