The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

December 10, 2013

A lot of talk, no action on DHS move

KNOXVILLE — No action was taken at Tuesday's regular Marion County Board of Supervisors' meeting in regard to the possibility of providing space for the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) at the East Annex on Sixth Street in Knoxville. 

The DHS retains space in Marion County in the same building as the Heart of Iowa Regional Transportation Authority (HIRTA), located east of Knoxville on Main Street. According to Supervisor Mark Raymie and County Attorney Ed Bull, DHS has informed the County that it no longer wants to occupy the HIRTA building when the current lease agreement expires. The agreement expires in June 2014. 

DHS has expressed interest in keeping its Targeted Case Management services in Knoxville, if the County has other space available. Moving to the East Annex, the former Public Health building, was a proposal. DHS needed an answer from the Board of Supervisors regarding the County's interest in writing a new agreement to allow DHS to lease space in the East Annex. 

Supervisor Craig Agan expressed disappointment in the lack of interest by DHS to continue to use the HIRTA building. He said the County has put a new roof on the building and made other accommodations for DHS to provide a good working space. 

Bull responded by saying that in this case DHS is a tenant who does not want to stay at its current location and could move elsewhere, possibly outside of Marion County. He added that it is helpful to have DHS in Marion County to provide space for meetings and workspace for investigators. 

Agan renewed his argument as to how accommodating the County has been. Bull reiterated that DHS will not renew an agreement for the HIRTA building. 

Agan and Board Chairman Jim Kingery were concerned about losing space in the East Annex, as other Marion County departments may need it. Kingery also agreed with Agan in regard to the investment the County has made in the HIRTA building and he does not want to do the same thing with the East Annex. 

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