Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

October 8, 2012

Bussey Community Center needs upgrades

Steve Woodhouse

Knoxville — With the Marion County Board of Supervisors' decision to close the Memorial Hall in Bussey, following an engineer's recommendation, upgrades are needed at the Bussey Community Center for the interim facility to meet Senior Nutrition demands. 

The Community Center has been used for over a week, since the Memorial Hall was closed. Meals have continued to be served to up to 30 residents each day on disposable materials, due to the lack of a dishwasher at the Center. 

A bid has been submitted by Plumb Tech of Lacona in the amount of $4,850 to address the plumbing and electrical issues that need to be addressed at the Center before it can officially be the permanent home of Senior Meals in Bussey. The question at Monday's supervisors' meeting became who should pay for it. The Senior Meals program is run by the County, but the City of Bussey owns the Center.

"It is a City building," County Maintenance Director Cal Stephens said. Any improvements made to meet the standards would become permanent. He suggested letting the City pay for the repairs and the County pay to lease the space. 

Bussey Mayor Larry Pinegar said the City would struggle to raise $5,000 for the repairs. Supervisor Craig Agan, who took part in the meeting via telephone, suggested the County provide a grant to Bussey to pay for the repairs. Discussion later turned to the County paying for the project, with the City repaying the County. 

"We need some time to work on this," Agan said. Though the State of Iowa requires certain things for such meal sites, Senior Nutrition Director Dawn Allspach said she has been in contact with the State and they have allowed the operation to continue.

"The State of Iowa knows we're in transition," Allspach said. 

No formal action was taken regarding the improvements to the Bussey Community Center. There was also discussion, but not action taken, regarding the issue of birds at the Public Health building.

As previously reported, Marion County Public Health employees have expressed concern regarding an open part of the building, one in which birds have come in to roost and leave waste. The County's safety consultant, according to Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Anderson, recommended addressing the issue, as it did present a potential Occupational Safety and Health Administration issue. 

Stephens had bids from two companies to enclose the area, and expected a third to arrive after the meeting on Monday. Agan said he is not interested in gaining space at the Public Health building.

"We have excess real estate right now," Agan said. If the area is enclosed, it would require a remodel, that would cost more money, he said. He is confident that the County can find another way to slow the bird problem. 

Board Chairman Sam Nichols said that if the supervisors wanted to continue to dodge OSHA, it could, but there have been complaints about the birds. Agan said the County needed to look at all potential solutions.

Stephens told the board that he has spent a great deal of time on this issue already. He has invited contractors out on numerous occasions. 

Nichols suggested inviting OSHA to the Public Health building to inspect the area. County Attorney Ed Bull could be seen shaking his head, "no" at the suggestion. 

The issue will once again be on the next regular board agenda. 

The board also tabled appointments to the Marion County Compensation Board. This board meets every December to come up with a recommendation to the supervisors regarding pay levels for elected officials in the coming year. Each elected official selects a representative to act on their behalf on the board. The supervisors get two representatives. 

Appointments tabled were those for the supervisors. Dean Hicks and Todd Chambers were recommended for appointment, but Agan had more potential representatives he wanted to speak with before a decision is made. Judge Steve Guiter has served as the County Attorney's representative for some time, and he is looking in to see if he can continue to serve in that capacity now that he is a judge. A change in the County Attorney's representative may be necessary as a result. 

Other supervisors' notes:

• Following public hearings, the board voted to approve zoning changes for Jesse Peterson and Brian Clarke. The board took several actions to make these changes, including the waiving of the second and third readings, and final approval, for each. 

• Authorized the chairman to sign the 2012 County Weed Commissioner's Report to be submitted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. This is an annual action, completed by Weed Commissioner Roger Schletzbaum. 

• Approved work beyond right of way agreements between the Secondary Road Department and Henry Langstraat, Jr., and Dale Storm.