HC departments preparing for 2019, FY2020

Department directors at the Henry County Courthouse reflected on 2018, looked toward 2019, and are preparing to present their fiscal year 2020 budgets to supervisors, which begins July 1, 2019.

The directors met the Board of Supervisors during a regular meeting on Thursday, Jan. 3, to update them on their departments.

Henry County Public Health gave 4,034 vaccinations to 1,828 patients in 2018, director Shelley Van Dorin said.

“It was a good year. We did a lot of vaccinations,” Van Dorin said.

Van Dorin said that the flu season is gearing up, and while activity is low in Iowa, there have been some fatalities of children because of the flu in southern states. Van Dorin urged Henry County residents to get their flu vaccinations.

Other vaccinations offered at Public Health is meningitis B, which is important to college students as they are three times more likely to contract it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The meningitis B vaccine is covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield, Van Dorin said.

The Henry County Sheriff’s Office is now looking to hire two new jailers after being fully staffed for five months.

Housing expenses for the Henry County Jail was $50,000 over budget as of November 2018, Sheriff Rich McNamee said. It shouldn’t be a problem much longer, however, with construction of the new jail expected to be completed between the end of June and Oct. 1, McNamee said.

Henry County recorder Mindy Fitzgibbon announced that 2019 hunting and fishing licenses are now out.

Walt Jackson, Henry County Emergency Management coordinator, said the department continues to work with the school districts on active shooter civilian response training (ALICE). They also have two churches scheduled for ALICE training — First Presbyterian Church in Mt. Pleasant and New London Christian Church.

“That’s going to be unique to get into the churches,” Jackson said.

Anyone visiting the Henry County Treasurer’s Office for a driver’s license will be issued a license for eight years, unless they have a shorter term for medical reasons according to a new state law, Henry County treasurer Ana Lair said.

Seventeen-year-olds can also now apply to register to vote, although they still have to wait to be 18-years-old to vote. Previously, people had to be 17 and a half-years-old to register to vote.

The Henry County Roads Department is fighting the effects of freezing and thawing gravel roads by hauling spot rock to locations throughout the county, engineer Jake Hotchkiss said. They are preparing for rain projected this Sunday and Monday, and overall watching the weather forecast.

Hotchkiss said the department has a lot of projects coming this summer and are getting ready to get busy.