Hudson: County potentially owes $10,000 in billing for wells

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


Henry County?s sanitarian services continue to be looked at with a critical eye by Bruce Hudson, executive director at Regional Utility Service Systems.

Hudson kicked off the Board of Health meeting Tuesday, April 24, with a list of $10,000 worth of records of homeowners and contractors who potentially did not receive a reimbursement from the county through Grants to County (GTC) after fulfilling well work requirements.

While each record will have to be looked at and paid out contingent upon individual approval by the Board of Health and the Henry County Board of Supervisors, Hudson had the Board of Health look closely at a well owned by Phillip Coffin, which was closed in June 2017.

This and other records from that time period ?weren?t even put in the database,? by sanitarian at the time Jodi Sutter, Hudson said. Because this well was completed outside of the current fiscal year, they can?t apply for it under current grant funding.

?Any time you close a well, you need a certified well plugger there or (county sanitarian) on site,? Hudson said. ?There wasn?t a representative from the county on site,? he said, adding that Sutter never told Coffin she had to be on site when the work was completed.

Hudson recommended the board approve this and future records and ?kick it up to the county? to decide whether or not they will pay for it.

While Coffin?s bill was $440, Hudson said the majority of the bills are around $500, although some people had been paid up to $1,000 when they were only supposed to get half that.

?With this specific one, I think it?s another learning experience for the county,? Hudson said.

Board of Health chair Harold Bezoni asked vice chair and Henry County Supervisor Greg Moeller if the county has enough funds to pay these back bills. Moeller said that the Supervisors approved as much funds as Public Health required during their transition to a county department, although they may have to go into some other funds and pull money from there.

?We?re responsible ultimately,? Moeller said. ?We?re the ones paying the bill for what?s required for the state of Iowa.?

In other news, Public Health is continuing plans to move from their Henry County Health Center campus building to a county-owned building.

Moeller said he doesn?t foresee any problems with Public Health moving by July 1. Public Health Coordinator Shelley Van Dorin said that all but one wall of construction is completed at the new building and ?everything looks really good.?

Public Health is getting new furniture for the building, including in the immunization clinic, conference room and waiting room.

?It?s coming together,? Van Dorin said.

Public Health has also hired a new nurse, Angie Rhum, who is certified as an elevated blood-lead specialist.

?If you recall when we had some of those difficulties with our (sanitarian), we had some unfinished business for the leads,? Van Dorin said. ?(Rhum) has completely finished all of those, gotten all the paperwork out to where it needs to go ? they did everything they were supposed to do the first week she was here.?

Rhum has 23 years of experience working in Public Health. Van Dorin said that the department is ?truly blessed? to have her join their team as a nurse.

The next Board of Health meeting is Tuesday, May 22.