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Supervisors receive mental illness report, pass budget amendment

The Hawk Eye - 4/26/2017

April 26--In their weekly correspondence, Des Moines County supervisors received a word from a mental illness advocacy group that has studied the county jail.

Disability Rights Iowa recently conducted a study on 30 Iowa county jails to see how the mentally ill are faring behind bars. The report, "In Jail and Out of Options," identifies problems with how the justice system handles the mentally ill.

"By relying on Iowa's jails to serve as the last resort for those with significant mental illness, Iowa echoes the dangerous, dehumanizing and fundamentally unsound approaches to mental health treatment of generations past," the report reads. "We can and must do better."

The correspondence was the first most involved have heard of the report, which has specific recommendations for sheriffs and jail administrators. There was little discussion, but relevant authorities now have the study.

Budget amendment

Supervisors approved a budget amendment, which budget director Cheryl McVey said likely will be their last for the year. The amendment comes from department heads "cleaning up" their budgets, she said.

"As of March 31, we have a fund balance of $16.8 million dollars," McVey said. "Our revenue is 7 percent over what we budgeted for the year, and our expenditures are 10 percent under. We're in great financial state."

The amendment designates $265,000 for the new county attorney building, $19,593 to add a second assistant county attorney and $23,424 for new information technology equipment, among many smaller changes. McVey expects many county budgets still may come in under budget this year.

Other business

Supervisors have set another date to discuss County Attorney Amy Beavers' drafted animal control ordinance. They previously asked Beavers to cut her first draft down to a simple state. Her second draft is seven pages long.

In addition to the dog law, supervisors asked Beavers to compare county law to Iowa's recent fireworks legislation to see if an adjustment needs to be made.


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