Supervisors deal with new order on masks in the courthouse

Benton County Courthouse

By Jim Magdefrau

VINTON – It was routine business for the Benton County Board of Supervisors at their Aug. 31 meeting in Vinton, except for a discussion on the impact of an Iowa Supreme Court order regarding face covering in the courthouse.

The board discussed control of the courthouse in terms of wearing masks, and which offices and common areas are affected. The Iowa Supreme Court recently issued an order requiring anyone entering courthouses in the state to wear a face covering, regardless of a person’s vaccination status or a county or area’s positivity rate or transmission status.

The order from the Iowa Supreme Court reads, “The Iowa Judicial Branch is balancing the need to take measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 with its commitment to conduct the important work of the courts. Accordingly, the supreme court has reviewed the recent revisions to the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding mask wearing in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission and issues this order regarding face coverings, which replaces the court’s May 14, 2021 order.” The link to the order is here.

The board talked about getting an opinion from the county attorney on what parts of the courthouse are under the control of the court. They also felt a sign was needed to explain why a mask is needed in the courthouse.

Other business

A land use hearing was set for Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 9:15 a.m. for Kyle and Tyra McAbee for land in Section 35, Benton Township.

The board approved the hiring of two part-time communications specialists, Samantha Frank and Sarah Siglin, for the sheriff’s department. They also approved the promotion of Keith Mell to senior correctional officer, with a new wage of $23.21 an hour effective Sept. 11, 2021.

Angie Albright of HACAP discussed a resolution for proclaiming September as Hunger Action Month. She credited the food pantries for what they do.

Benton County Engineer Myron Parizek received approval for reduced bridge embargoes on various bridges it the county. He said bridges in Benton County are inspected every two years. Inspectors highly recommended reducing the allowed legal road on about a dozen bridges. They will look to replace these bridges as finances become available.

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