CENTERVILLE — The Appanoose County Board of Supervisors again discussed the location of the county's Veterans Affairs office. And again, the topic was tabled.

Currently, the office is located in the basement of the Homestead of Centerville nursing home. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the office is not currently accessible to the public, but supervisors have been concerned with ease of access even outside the pandemic.

Supervisors have a growing concern that the office is not accessible to local veterans, but the commission that oversees the office doesn't agree.

Iowa Code Chapter 35 includes language that states "each county commission of veteran affairs shall maintain an office in a public building owned, operated, or leased by the county."

The office space at Homestead of Centerville is provided for no charge. Supervisor Chairwoman Linda Demry said even if a $1 per month lease was entered into, she wouldn't be satisfied in the office remaining there.

"I think you guys seriously need to consider moving, regardless," Demry said. "Even a dollar-a-month lease ... that's not real appropriate when we have a building and we have an option available."

Supervisors had suggested the office relocate at least temporarily to the building that currently houses Appanoose County Public Health, where two rooms are available and are more accessible.

The commission has maintained the public health building is not suitable to house the office. They asked supervisors to tour their office at Homestead of Centerville once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

Among the commission's issues with the county-owned public health building are parking and accessibility of the sidewalk in front of the building.

In other action:

— Masks will now be required to enter the Appanoose County Courthouse.

Signs are now posted at front entrances after the Board of Supervisors came to a consensus to implement the new policy.

The courthouse remains open as the virus spread continues exponentially in the county.

— Supervisors awarded a contract for geotechnical investigation at the county-owned proposed site for a new jail and law enforcement center. A $5,000 low-bid from Klinger was accepted.

Kyle Ocker is the group editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at kocker@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

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Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the first vice president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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