Further talk on how to deal with Covid-19 for Benton County employees

Benton Supervisors at the service center

By Jim Magdefrau

VINTON – The Benton County Board of Supervisors’ meeting focused on what to do about an employee who tests positive or is exposed to Covid-19.
The county has is working on a Covid-19 policy, and modeling it on the policy used by Virginia Gay Hospital. At the meeting supervisors’ Tuesday, Nov. 24 meeting, there was still question on how long an employee should be quarantined when testing positive, or being exposed.

No action was taken on a policy. The policy under consideration calls for a 10-day quarantine.

“This whole Covid thing is getting nuts,” observed Benton County Supervisor Gary Bierschenk, adding, “I’m just glad our cases are down the last few days.”

Land use

A land use hearing was set for Billy and Dawn Phillips, for Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 9:15 a.m., for land in Parcel B, Section 33, Harrison Township.

Marc Greenlee, Benton County Sanitarian and Land Use Administrator, discussed office space. Greenlee would like to expand his office space. They were working to get an environmental health land use technician. This was put on hold when Covid-19 hit. They now hope to annex the room next to them and have someone in the position by March. The room is now a conference room. Supervisor Chairman Richard Primmer said he saw no problem with this. No action was taken, but permission was given to begin the process.

Bierschenk asked about applications for new houses. Greenlee said the money has been reasonable and applications have not stopped during Covid-19. Bierschenk observed most of the new houses are on the eastern side of the county. Primmer added that there is not as much towards Highway 21 as there is east of Highway 150. Greenlee pointed out this will always be this way as long the county has a land use policy that preserved good farm ground.

Other business

The board approved the Benton County Treasurer’s appointed deputies.

The board approved giving the employees the day off on Christmas Eve. The board would like to align the county’s holiday hours with court hours and will address this for the next year’s season.

The board approved a Class B liquor license for Kimm’s Sinclair, Blairstown.

The board acknowledged the resignation of Tim Rathje in transportation department.

The weed department budget was discussed for next fiscal year. This included talk on separating roadside management from secondary roads.

A utility permit was approved for Black Hills Energy for work in Section 1, Bruce Township. This is for a gas line.

The board retained Dutton Law Firm for labor negotiations.

Adam Rodenberg discussed the Nature Conservancy Watershed project. This is a five-year program. They seek a letter of support from Benton County. This deals with the Cedar River basin, from Minnesota to southeast Iowa. Benton County wants to have help on grant administration. Benton County is the pass-through county for the multi-county watershed group. The supervisors approved the letter of support.

The meeting was held in the conference room of the Benton County Service Center, after concerns were expressed about distancing at the courthouse office. The address is 811 D Ave., Vinton. For now they will continue to meet at the service center, while looking at other options at the courthouse.

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