OTTUMWA — Should the county pay for medications for people on parole?

That was one question that the Wapello County Board of Supervisors discussed at their meeting on Tuesday before voting to approve the updated mental health plan.

Supervisor Jerry Parker said ex-offenders should not be let out from behind bars without their medication, because they are more likely to re-offend.

Central Point of Coordination Director Carol Logan understands the concern regarding parolees, but added that it might not be financially feasible to do.

“We have been receiving about 50 new clients each year for the past couple years,” she said.

Logan pointed out that she would be happy to do whatever the supervisors suggest, but warned them if they take on these ex-offenders, the CPC office might have to let some other patients go.

She suggested that the supervisors have the corrections office look into the indigent medications program at River Hills Community Health Clinic.

“These individuals are able to go there and they would only have to pay a $10 co-pay for their medications,” she said.

After discussing the topic for about 30 minutes, the supervisors decided to approve the plan as is, but noted they would look into referring ex-offenders to the River Hills program.



Prescription drug card plan

The approval of the National Association of Counties’ Prescription Drug Card Program, followed the mental health hearing, and tied the two topics together.

“The [NaCo Drug Card Program] would be another way for these individuals to get their medications at a discounted rate,” Logan said.

The program would be open to any county resident who wished to be on a prescription program.

With a card, the supervisors said any county resident would be able to save between 15 to 20 percent on prescription drugs and up to 50 percent on mail orders.

The supervisors voted to approve the program and said that it would be implemented within the next 30 days.



Underground cables

A third public hearing was held on the use of county property to bury underground cables and piping.

Several items have been changed on the ordinance from the meeting two weeks ago and reworded.

However, after looking over the designated areas, the three supervisors decided that it would have to be re-written once more and another first reading was scheduled.

One of the concerns addressed fell under the requirements portion of the ordinance.

Originally there was a specific depth in the ordinance that the piping or cables would have to be buried at. However, this changed from two weeks ago due to some complications that could arise from the tubes breaking at such depths.

The rewritten version of this portion states that “All waste pipes shall be buried at a minimum depth as approved by the County Engineer at the time of the application of this permit.

“Pipes are not allowed above ground or attached to any bridge or structure.”

Wapello County Engineer Brian Moore will reword the ordinance and the first reading is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., April 11.



Road Use Tax Fund

The supervisors also discussed the proposed changes to the Iowa Road Use Tax Fund.

Supervisor Mike Petersen said last year the state passed a bill that simplified the formula to make it easier.

“When they did this, Wapello County lost $80,000,” he said.

Petersen said the State Chamber Alliance pushed for a bill at the same time that would have cost the county $150,000.

Now, he said the SCA is trying to get the funds redistributed once again and claimed it would cost the county around $645,000 from the road use tax fund and the farm-to-market funds.

“The city of Ottumwa would get about $589,000 of this,” he said.

And while the proposal would impact all counties, smaller counties in the state would feel the hurt more.

“The larger counties like Polk County ... have other sources of revenue,” he said.

Though the bill has been killed by the Legislature this year, Petersen said the fight is far from over.

“The population is becoming more urban and legislators of these areas want to put more money into the cities,” Supervisor Steve Siegel said.

Petersen said if the bill passes in the next couple years, many county residents will see a cut in services.

“The cities are receiving money on the backs of the counties,” he said.

Scott Niles can be reached at (641) 683-5360 or via e-mail at sjniles@mchsi.com.

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