Restricted access continues for county courthouse

Benton Supervisors met at the Service Center.

By Jim Magdefrau

VINTON – The Benton County Courthouse will continue to have restricted access, until the county reviews this again in April, in action at the Benton County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

The courthouse been restricted since the Covid-19 pandemic raised concerns about access by the public.

County officials met and discussed the matter in closed session, then the board decided 3-0 to continue the restrictions. People can go into the facilities by appointment only.

Discussion came after a debate on the need to go into closed session. Benton County Attorney David Thompson recommended a closed session since it involved building security. Thompson felt it was better to talk about it first in closed session, and then come out of closed session to announce the policy. County Auditor Hayley Rippel preferred it be in open session, so the public knows what’s going on. Thompson again stressed this dealt with security.

The policy is in effect at the courthouse until they meet again on matter at their April 6 meeting.

Other business

The board approved a quote from Graham Tree Service for removal of trees from the service center.

The board discussed office space in the basement of the courthouse, particularly the use of the GIS room. Officials include the auditor’s office, sanitarian/land use, and district court’s probation officer. Maintenance is also looking for space. This also led to use of the current supervisors’ office, since the supervisors are currently meeting at the service center. The board chairman, Tracy Seeman, agreed to meet in a committee with impacted officials that afternoon.

Phil Borleske was at the meeting to discuss the Historical Preservation Budget and anticipated grants. Borleske and Allison Hicks also gave updates on projects they are assisting with, including the steeple at St. Michael’s, Norway, Herring Hotel, Belle Plaine, and how Benton County will help note the 175th anniversary of the State of Iowa.

Sheriff Ron Tippett presented a plan for a multi-county Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). This would put Benton County with Clayton, Delaware and Jones Counties. This would replace Benton County’s participation with the Riverview Center and deals with training. It will be put on the agenda for Feb. 9.

The final plat was approved for Frimml’s First Addition.

John Lindaman was approved as a sheriff’s deputy.

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