The Buena Vista Board of Supervisors requested that Sheriff Chuck Eddy report on the operation of the new law enforcement center, asking for a regular report from his office.
"The public has a right to know," said board Chairman Dale Arends last week. "There was a lot of hype to get it built and we haven't heard much."
Sheriff Eddy and Doug Simons appeared at Tuesday's meeting to share information and said that the new jail has already provided savings to the county.
The jail is currently holding 10 prisoners. An estimated $20,000 has been saved by holding juveniles locally as opposed to transporting them to the YES Center in Cherokee. Another $4,000 has been saved by being able to incarcerate females, plus the savings of transportation expense. Female bookings in October and November were 44.
Gas utility cost is higher than expected for the building, which houses the jail, sheriff's offices and communication center.
The staff is working with Alliant Energy to determine if the meter is reading usage correctly, and they having the HVAC contractors checking on the settings.
Other minor issues are being corrected. An adjustment to the set screw for the hot water heater has successfully restored hot water. Some water leaks detected above the water heater have been fixed - the door locks have been adjusted; contacts between the sensors are interdependent on the status of the other door locks in each section. The window glass is supposed to be shipped by Feb. 18 and the G-S Company is working with Carroll Glass to set a date for installation.
The video court system is being hooked up in the LEC, with the connection to be completed at the courthouse.
The officers also reported that the jail food service is working well.
In other supervisors news this week:
Engineer Jon Ites updated the board on the progress on the old jail renovation. Some work is still needed to be done. Chairman Arends reported that the juvenile probation department has several individuals with community services sentences who will be available to assist with moving equipment and records into the new storage location.
The Storm Lake Airport Commission has notified the engineer of their July 21 circus event, and their "Fly-In" planned for Aug. 8-10. The C-65 project is scheduled for a July letting. If construction begins right after the letting, traffic may be restricted from coming in on Hwy 110.
Kathy Evert, Executive Director of Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corp, was on hand and provided an update of current activities of the Corridor.
Buena Vista University President Fred Moore has recently been appointed as the third member of their board representing Buena Vista County.
Shaun Arneson has begun the second year of interviews in the "Existing Industry Call" program which is a business expansion and retention tool for the region; this region has a worker shortage. Plans for the Aug. 3-8 2008 Entrepreneurship Institute are underway, and will enroll four students from BVU this year. Grants totaling $100,000 have been secured for this effort.
A middle school academy will be added to run concurrently. A "Be Your Own Boss For a Day" seminar for high school juniors and seniors is planned for April. In June or August, a two-day teacher workshop is planned to introduce entrepreneurship in the curriculum in their classrooms.
The Corridor will participate in several work force career fairs in Sioux City and at BVU in the next couple months. They hope to add to the resources in the employment directory which allows employers to list what type of jobs they have and that are currently open. The second phase of their "Live Work Play Here" marketing effort has begun with an open invitation to our residents to relay the good word to friends and relatives about relocating in the region.
Custodian Steve Hammen reported that the estimated cost of repairs following the courthouse fire in the jail ventilation shaft is $3,619, less the $1,000 deductible. EMC is forwarding a check for $2,619. Repairs include replacement of ceiling tiles, roof repair, replacement of a ventilator repair and supplies.
Hammen also reported to the board that there seems to be a lot of activity outside of the courthouse at night - "kids hanging out and skateboarding" - in the wings of the south exterior area. The board agreed to add more lighting for safety and security in the area.