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Jasper County is officially prepared for emergency situations--almost

Published: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 10:54 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, July 22, 2013 2:40 p.m. CDT

Jasper County officially has a Continuity of Operations Plan in place. During Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the board approved the measure.

“This has been a long time coming, so I appreciated the support in finally getting this done” Japer County Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Sparks said.

After the measure was approved Sparks recommended to the board that the item be revised and tested on an annual basis.

“If we do not do anything with this from this point forward, then this all for not,” Sparks said.

Board chair Dennis Stevenson suggested that the plan be brought up revision in future June board meetings and that when the departments heads gather for their meetings with the board, the topic be discussed.

The plan was approved, however, as it was not in a resolution format and the plan will be back on the agenda next to make it official.

“I think it’s a good thing and it’s been a long time coming,” Stevenson said.

The purpose of such a plan is to ensure that day-to-day governmental business is still carried out, even without the normal facilities being available. Examples of this are paying the county’s bills, providing law enforcement, road maintenance and collecting taxes.

The plan’s language states it will apply to all departments and agencies that fall under county jurisdiction. It also states the plan will ensure that essential county business will continue within 12 hours of an emergency, with or without advanced warning.

The COOP would have three phases. Phase I is activation and relocation and would take place within 12 hours of the incident. To activate this phase, the board would have to make the decision in conjunction with another department head or elected officials.

Phase II would involve choosing an alternative site for county business, if the other properties are unavailable. The selected site is the former Iowa National Guard Armory and is contingent on further development of the facility located at 1030 W. Second St. S. in Newton.

Phase III is disengaging from COOP operations and returning to normal operations.

Jasper County Veteran’s Affairs Director Chris Chartier presented his office’s quarterly and 2012-13 fiscal year report to the board for approval.

“As far as the annual report goes, there three things I would like to mention that were basically mandated as what we need to get done this year,” Chartier said. “Number one was outreach, getting people to know who I was and what our office does. (Number two) subsidizing a lot of our county funds with federal programs that already exist and getting people enrolled into those programs.”

“(Number three) is getting ahold of the grant funds and making sure that we are not only using it all, but putting it all to where it’s supposed to be,” Chartier said.

Chartier went on to elaborate further on his first priority, which was outreach.

“I don’t want to say anything against myself, but I think if you don’t know who I am or what I do you live under a rock,” Chartier said.

Since his appointment to the position last June, Chartier has been very active within the veterans community in Jasper County. He is a member of the both the local American Legion and VFW posts, was a Freedom Flight “Red Shirt” volunteer, marched in the Fourth of July parade with other veterans, and is on the Jasper County Veteran’s Memorial Fund and Commission Committee.

Chariter’s reports were approved and Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott commented on the office’s efforts.

“It looks like the point you were trying to get across is that all of the monies available you were able to spent 99 percent of that,” Parrott said. “In that past, past individuals (in the position) have not used all of the money that they should have. You have been able to do it.”

Stevenson added that it was a “totally good report.

In the 2012-13 fiscal year, the office paid for 10 veterans’ funerals and provided 57 county veterans with funding assistance in the fiscal year. Chariter also said that in the last fiscal year the number of veterans using the VA service increased from less than 900 to 1,149.

In other business:

Jasper County Conservation Director Keri Van Zante’s request to have $2,947 in camping fee funds transferred from the general fund to conservation budget was approved. This measure was additionally listed as Transfer Order #1305 in the agenda, and Van Zante recommended that the board make the measure an annual thing for the beginning of each fiscal year.

Jasper County Recorder Nancy Parrott’s June report was approved. Her office collected $22,722.73 in June.

Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641)-792-3121, ext. 426, or at trushing@newtondailynews.com

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