DISCUSSION: MEMO FROM MIKE FOSTER, DIRECTOR FOR JOHNSON COUNTY SENIOR DINING REGARDING PARKING FOR SENIOR DINING
Lehman: Next item is Business on the Board of Supervisors. We have Discussion Action Needed and then we have a memo from Mike Foster, Director of Johnson County Senior Dining. Mike is with us this morning regarding parking for Senior Dining. Good morning, Mike.
Senior Dining Director Mike Foster: Good morning.
Lehman: You might want to bring us up to speed a little bit here. We had…
Foster: Do you all have a copy of the letter?
Stutsman: I do anyway.
Foster: Just so you recognize that this was a draft letter suggested to me by Joe Fowler and all of our discussions concerning the opening of the parking garage. The thrust of this is in essence to plant the seed to the City that we're very interested in parking, not only for our staff but for our volunteers. Joe suggested to me that perhaps it would behoove us to have a letter that would carry some clout, so to speak, from you to the City suggesting these parking arrangements. You're certainly aware of our difficulties with parking. In order to attract staff with our wages, it certainly would be an enhancement to that to enhance the possibility of us being more competitive with the parking arrangements. The other piece of that is, for our volunteers, as you well know, our volunteers aren't recognized by the Senior Center. In discussions with Joe, he felt that perhaps the best method might be to encourage the City to have a park and shop rate for our volunteers. The other option to that would be to purchase more permits. Right now the City is suggesting $50 a year for those permits. So, that might be an option Carol had mentioned that and option to the park and shop rate. So, those are kind of the 2 options that we've kind of laid out on the table. Bob, in discussions with Joe Fowler thought that perhaps the letter might be… It might be wise to have the letter actually go to Steve Atkins rather than the City Council, thinking that Steve would have the authority to approve that type of arrangement. We want to touch base, hopefully before this parking garage gets full capacity, have something developed here. That's why we're doing this now.
Lehman: I had some conversation with Mayor Ernie Lehman of Iowa City. He said he'd be, and he felt the rest of the Council, would be open to some type of proposal. He said he realized the importance of the Senior Dining and also the volunteers and the staff. He said he would be interested in hearing some type of proposal. He didn't say if it would be yes or no, cut and dried. He didn't have anything he was going to propose, but he also suggested letters to different parties there so everyone was aware of it and could come up with an idea. I know in your budget you have money set aside for parking for staff and also some for volunteer parking.
Foster: That's correct.
Lehman: So, that would be money there. You need to sit down and figure out how far that money would go and possibly make a proposal to the City and to the Council and to Steve Atkins and Joe Fowler, letting them know what we would be able… We have funds on how far they might go in providing spaces for our volunteers and our staff.
Foster: As Bob's memo indicates, in talking with Joe, they're really not sure what they are going to do at the parking garage yet in terms of permits. So, it's all kind of up in the air right now. But, with it opening, perhaps next week, we kind of want to be one of the first ones to the table about this.
Lehman: I think we have to understand, they built this parking ramp and they projected funds to help pay for this. This throws a different light on it when we start asking for a special rate, times that may take revenue away from them. So, they have to be careful of what it does to their budget, but they understand the importance of the Senior Dining there and we have to have employees get to work there, along with the volunteers. Looking at here maybe sitting with Jeff and trying to do some type of proposal and working with the numbers of what we think it's going to cost us and what funds we have to work with.
Stutsman: But right now are you just asking the Board to make a request to the cities?
Lehman: Keep the door open or the gate open.
Stutsman: Right. But there is money in your budget for this, not only this year but next year, too.
Foster: Definitely. Well, not this year.
Foster: But next year. So this would be something that would…
Stutsman: Start July 1st then.
Foster: July 1st.
Harney: What's the minimum number of spaces you would need. Obviously you don't have everyone on duty at the same time. Is it a type of a share permit type thing?
Foster: We haven't really analyzed that yet. We had allocated 7 permits for our paid staff. That's in the budget. That's a defined number. As far as the volunteers are concerned, with these 2 options, do you set a minimum in terms of you have to volunteer X amount of hours to qualify for something like this. That opens up a whole can of worms because you know people are going to dispute that. Then, you've got all of the record keeping involved with that. In discussions with Joe, Joe thought, well, it might be easier to allow you more flexibility if we had some type of voucher process whereby… For example, we've got 2 gals from Kalona there today. They drive a long ways. They don't have a Senior Center permit. They come and volunteer for 3 or 4 hours once a week. Obviously, if you went with some type of hourly restriction, they probably wouldn't qualify. But, are you going to lose those people because they don't volunteer enough, yet they always say to me, gosh, it'd be so nice to come volunteer here if we didn't have to pay for our parking. It gets really costly for us to drive that far.
Thompson: You're already incurring the expense to drive the distance from…
Foster: Right. That's why the voucher process, whereby they would get their ticket, give it to me, I would process all of those, send a bill to the City, might be a better value to us than having 20, $50 permits out there.
Foster: Then, having to pass them around amongst people. That would get fairly confusing.
Thompson: Well, the permits are only for people who qualify by age, too, and all of your volunteers wouldn't do it.
Foster: That's another reason, right. We could enhance that for our non-senior volunteers to help pay for their parking using the voucher process. It wouldn't restrict us Pat, in terms of how many we could have, as long as we had the money, obviously.
Lehman: Do we have enough direction to draft a letter to put it on for formal action next week then?
Lehman: OK. Anything else we need to cover on that?
Foster: The skyway is being built. The hole is in the Senior Center and huge chunks of concrete have been removed. It's quite the process.
Foster: The markings are on the parking ramp. So, internally, the structure is ready to go.
Lehman: OK. Good, it's been interesting just driving by. You kind of take it for granted. The trucks pull up in concrete and I don't know if someone has documented it. It'd be interesting to see when it's all done though.
Foster: I'm waiting for the neon lights on the outside.
Harney: It's been a long process but it's a nice looking facility and that walkway is going to be nice.
Foster: It has been a real challenge but we got through.
Lehman: Bob Welsh do you have some comments?
Welsh: I know that Mike Foster has expressed to me his real appreciation for the people who do the home delivered meals. With all of the congestion there has been in the alley there, it's been trying for those people to get in and out with all of those packages and meals. The fact that (inaudible) hadn't missed any days is a real tribute to those volunteers and to the staff (inaudible).
Stutsman: I'm just in awe of these volunteers, their willingness to do this day in and day out. It's so important what they do. Like you say Bob, it would be easy to say this is not worth it but obviously they just go beyond the call so it really is great what they do.
Welsh: (Inaudible) also the importance of having a paid person on the staff who helps to recruit those volunteers. (Inaudible) a person calls in who is claiming to drive a route saying I'm sick, I can't do that today, having somebody there who can call how many other persons are needed to get that taken care of.
Lehman: It's also a good point when this ramp is done, people forget about the hardships these volunteers went through with your staff of trying to get these meals out, carrying them a little bit further, delays, traffic blockage and stuff like that. It's a real compliment to them to stick with it.
Welsh: I don't know how many meals today, how many home delivered meals might go out. 100?
Lehman: It's kind of mind boggling to figure out how many drivers it would take and speed and efficiency they get it done.
Foster: It's been a process of recognizing we're all in it together. There have been a few times when angers have gotten pretty tense. But, all in all, they kind of understand now that this is the way it is. It'll get better.
Lehman: Thank you very much.
DISCUSSION: NOMINATIONS TO THE COUNTY RATE INFORMATION SYSTEM 28E AGREEMENT BOARD
Lehman: Next item is Discussion Action Needed for Nominations to the County Rate Information Systems 28E Agreement Board. Last week Elaine Sweet was in, maybe 3 weeks ago, and talked about provider rates that would be done at the State level. We had signed an agreement to participate on the State level of that. There was a fee involved. This item here pertains to we would be able to nominate someone to sit on that County rate review board. I spoke with Elaine this morning and she was first, according to the agreement, that if we had not assigned that by April 1st we would not be able to nominate someone. But, she had that clarified and said that we would be able to go ahead and nominate someone. My take would be that Elaine would be very happy to represent the County on that Board. She said between Johnson County and Polk we have the most providers that we deal with. It would be real good, not that we need lobby for it, but it would give her very good insight of what was going on.
Stutsman: I'm glad Elaine is willing to serve on this Board because this is just a nomination form. There is no guarantee she'll be selected, but it would mean probably some trips to Des Moines and things. But, I think her input would just be very, very valuable.
Lehman: It'd be valuable for that Board and also for us and it'd give her firsthand knowledge about what was being discussed and rates being said.
Stutsman: We can nominate County Supervisors as well as financial managers. Do we want to nominate? Would Jeff be interested in being a part of this?
Lehman: She had said we'd probably be lucky to get one.
Stutsman: I don't think it hurts other people down.
Lehman: Well, it's open for discussion. Action would be next week.
Stutsman: I just threw that out. Supervisors, too, if any of us are interested in serving on it. Like I said, it does take a time commitment.
Lehman: There may be a lack of nominations.
Stutsman: Is she saying that she thinks she wouldn't get a chance to participate if we had other people's names on here?
Lehman: She's mentioned that portion of it. I don't know if we want to rank them.
Stutsman: I don't know Jeff if you would be interested.
Horne: I will if you want me to go to Des Moines to participate. Does the Board want me to do that?
Stutsman: Is that a good use of his time?
Horne: I don't have anything against it.
Lehman: I might discuss it with Elaine again and see what her take is. Since this is a brand new Board she probably doesn't have a read on what they are thinking, not that we want to lobby to put 2 or 3 members on. This isn't something where we're trying to get things our way. We just want to represent and make sure the provider rates are set.
Stutsman: My experience with these new Boards is you’d be setting the rules and the regulations and the rates and so it would be a working Board and I'm sure they would rely on expertise from the people that would be on it.
Thompson: Elaine has followed this from the beginning and she probably would be the best person we could nominate.
Lehman: We might visit with her before we take action on it. I don't feel like we want to send the impression we're trying to monopolize this Board either.
Thompson: Yes. We want to be a partner.
Stutsman: Then why don't we just put Elaine's name in.
Lehman: I think she'll keep us abreast of what is developing there.
Horne: How big is this board?
Stutsman: It says in here the board is 4 directors from participating counties having the largest 1/3 in terms of the MH/DD expenditures. Of these 4 directors, 3 shall be County Supervisors and 1 shall be County staff. There should be 3 directors from participant counties. I was thinking that there was a total of like 15 people on the board. 11 directors.
Thompson: Yes, 11 I think.
Horne: I'd say we have a good shot at getting one person on for sure.
Lehman: My feeling right now would be not to dilute our chances.
Stutsman: I think it's great Elaine is willing to do this.
Lehman: OK. Well, let's put this on for discussion action next week and present any changes and visit with Elaine and see what her read is on it. She may not have any indication since this is a brand new board. There may be an opportunity to put someone else on later on as Chairperson.
Stutsman: To be quite frank, I think what they're doing right now is just getting a pool and they'll see where they are short and then they probably will do some recruiting if there are areas where they need more CPC's. I have a hunch they probably will have a lot of CPC's that apply and probably be short in the areas of financial managers or County Supervisors to balance out the board.
Lehman: OK, we have direction on that to put that on next week for nomination.
MINUTES RECEIVED: JOHNSON COUNTY EMPOWERMENT AREA BOARD FOR APRIL 5, 2001
Lehman: OK. Next we have minutes received from the Johnson County Empowerment Area Board Minutes for April 5, 2001. Those were circulated around if you get a chance to review those. Then, we also have Reports and Inquiries from the Board. Any volunteers that would like to report to the public?
REPORTS (HARNEY): ATTENDED CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MEETING; ATTENDED ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION CONFERENCE; AND ATTENDED CONSERVATION BOARD MEETING
Harney: I could start.
Harney: Thursday, April 26th I attended the Chamber p.m. at the first trust in Coralville, the new bank out there. They had a good group out there. Friday, April 27th, I attended the Alternative Transportation Solutions Conference at the Sheraton over here. The keynote speaker was Jane Holtz Kay, Author of Asphalt Nation did a very good job. She's out of Washington D.C. There were workshops I attended. One was public and alternative trails. (Inaudible) was Barbara MacMillan, Federal Highway Administration. Presenters were Arnie Shone, with the DNR, John Yapp, with Iowa City Planning Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinator. Basically, on the enhancement of trails between the communities of Coralville, Iowa City, some of the other projects that are going on out towards the Amana's and things like that. Another session I attended was transportation services for persons with disabilities moderated with Michelle Holmes, ADA Specialist from Kansas City. The presentations were given by Brian McClatchy, University of Iowa Bionic Bus Services and Jane Nelson Coon of Black Hawk Center for Independent Living and Tom Brace, Operations Supervisor for SEATS with Johnson County, and Jeff Larson, ADA and Beyond. It was on Rules and Future and Accessibility for Disabled. A very good session I attended there. Also, I attended on Friday, the 27th, a Seminar on Substantial Agriculture at Montgomery Hall. It's ICASH, Iowa Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at Montgomery Hall at the Fairgrounds. Really, some interesting information came out of that. The presentation was by Fred Kirchman, Professor at Ames. One of the notes he made was that farmers in 1940 were 30 million, in 1992 they are down to 4.5 million. They are decreasing very fast. The decline in the farmers rate was in the 50's, 3.8%, in the 60's, 4.6%, and the 80's is down to 2.7%. He made a note also that now there are more full-time prisoners than there are farmers in the United States, an interesting figure. Farmers represent age 65 to farmers age (inaudible) are 5 to 1. So, the future is really in question with farmers in our country. They served a noon meal. It was all American, all Iowa grown products, which was really, really good down there. Some baked bread, too, beans and you name it. Friday the 27th at 5:30 I attended also the Conservation Board Meeting at Kent Park at the Education Center. Their concerns out there are deer control and update on the environment policies for their offices. They had park rules and regulations that were developed and adopted. They are working on a strategic plan for the future of the park areas. They are going to remove the playground equipment in the park out there. It's getting old and it's not safe anymore. So, they are going to be removing that. They are going to be looking for dollars to replace that equipment with. So, if anyone has any ideas they would certainly appreciate some help out there. They are looking at developing some trails within the park and upgrading the needs also for additional funding for the parks. The Education Center out there is one of the topics as well. It's not being used to the capacity it can be. If anyone has any sessions they'd like to give out there or presentations the offices are available for any conservation related services. So, if anyone needs that it always is available. So, that's what I've done.
Lehman: OK. Thanks.
REPORT (THOMPSON): attended Jail statistics group meeting; ATTENDED HEALTH INSURANCE WORK GROUP MEETING; attended financial software demonstration; and upcoming heritage area agency on aging meeting
Thompson: Sure. Pat and I have been working on a Jail Statistics Group with the County Attorney and the County Sheriff and recently have been meeting with the law enforcement people from around the County. We've put this on the agenda for the joint cities meeting on the 9th, which is next week. So, I've been giving some thought about how to structure the conversation. What I'm thinking now, and I'm saying this so that you can give me feedback later if you have other things you want included. But, the 3 questions that we would focus on would be first can they help us by examining their public policy and practice? Can they help us in anyway to lower the population in our Jail without compromising community safety? The second would be, are the cities willing to engage with us in a public dialogue about law enforcement practice that would allow the public to give us ideas about how we might change the pattern of Jail usage in our community. The third would be, do they have any ways to help us obtain land around the current Jail in order to add on or build a different building? So, that's what I plan to lay out when you ask me to introduce the meeting next week. If you have other suggestions I'd be happy to hear them before the day. This week I also met with Lora and Jeff for the Health Insurance Work Group that we set up in our Strategic Planning. We talked about the purpose of the group and our goal, which as we formulated it, is to try to even out the County's increases in health insurance cost, each year over the next few years. We talked about some options. We talked about the possible necessity to hire a consultant from outside the County to help us work with the Union people and others that we might have to mediate with about this. The immediate plan is that Lora is preparing some information about the history of our health insurance contract and the way it compares to other counties. She is going to be presenting that at the next elected officials and department heads meeting so that we get everybody on board as far as what this cost us and what we're actually paying for. On Tuesday, the software committee that's looking into HR and accounting software for the County had the company called SCI come in for a demonstration. I should remind the Board that tomorrow, the SAP company is demonstrating. On May 9th, I forgot the name of the other company.
Horne: American FundWare.
Thompson: American FundWare. This is for outside the box thinking. We want to get ideas and sort of see a demonstration of various kinds of these software so that we can prepare the specs for our request for information when we do that. SCI was sort of the medium price alternative. SAP is the higher priced alternative and American FundWare is the lower price. Those are the perimeters that we chose. They'll be coming. The demonstration on Tuesday was worth seeing even if… I didn't go for any specific part of it. I just went and listened whenever I had time and it was definitely worth it. Mike and I met with Mark Bulechek on Monday. This afternoon we are meeting with the people from Heritage Agency on Aging about the Senior Dining program. That's my report.
Lehman: OK. Thank you.
REPORT (STUTSMAN): ATTENDED MECCA BOARD MEETING; and ATTENDED RISK POOL BOARD MEETING
Stutsman: I had a MECCA Board meeting last Thursday. It was a short meeting. Basically, we're just talking about they're building onto their current location at Southgate and talking about the transition from starting that construction project and moving. Then, they are going to tear down their offices and move their offices over to Gilbert Street to that location over there, where it used to be that furniture store. So, lots of moving and changing going on there. On Friday I attended the Risk Pool Board meeting. We had 3 applications that we were considering for Risk Pool funds. These were 3 counties that, with their mental health budgets are finding that they don't have enough money budgeted to meet their cost for the year and so the 3 counties that apply and met the criteria were Clinton County, Jackson County and Iowa County. All 3 were granted funds from the Risk Pool Board. These were all assistance grants, meaning that these 3 counties have levied their maximum for mental health funds and simply because of individuals and service needs were not able to be within budget. The risk pool has over a million dollars to work in. They were hoping that each year the legislature would appropriate additional dollars to the risk pool fund. We can carry over dollars in the pool, but there weren’t additional dollars allocated. But, we still were able to fund the 3 counties and still have some additional monies left over. It’s interesting being part of this discussion to hear what is going on with counties and their mental health dollars. I know we’ve had in the last couple of weeks discussion about our budget here in Johnson County, going to the waiting list, and concerns about where we’re going to be at as far as continuing to provide services with a budget that is capped. I think we’re seeing the trend across the State with all of these counties that are seeing additional clients come in to the system, additional needs and having to deal with cap budget in meeting those needs. Calhoun County, for instance, almost asked for $200,000 of Risk Pool dollars for this Fiscal Year. It was one of those situations where, just all of a sudden, they were finding individuals that they didn’t know about being brought into their system. That they had no way of budgeting for or knowing that they were going to be there and here they were just running short of money. So, the State people are working closely with Calhoun County to see where they can try to reduce cost. In many cases the costs are just there. There is just so much you can do to try to reduce those costs. But, anyway, that’s the report on where we were with the Risk Pool dollars.
Lehman: Thank you.
REPORT (LEHMAN): ATTENDED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT MEETING; ATTENDED ECICOG MEETING; ATTENDED IOWA CITY FRINGE AREA AGREEMENT MEETING; attended meeting regarding medical examiner department; AND attended financial software demonstrations
Lehman: Last Thursday, after meeting here, I went to Workforce Development in Cedar Rapids. They had a lot of interesting discussion on the changes with the new administration in Washington, D.C., as far as the Job Service with funding and also some of the programs. Some will be discontinued and some will be enhanced. The staff are still trying to shake those out how that is going to affect people in Iowa. After that, I had the East Central Iowa Council of Governments. They reported on the enhanced bottle deposit bill. It failed. What they are trying to do is get merchants to take the plastic bottles with juice and water. But, the bill that has been enacted now is still in force. It’s just that they were trying to add a little bit more to it, and that failed. Last Friday, Terrence Neuzil, along with our Planning and Zoning Department, met with Iowa City and discussed the Fringe Area Agreement. We tried to concentrate on areas that we see in maybe the next 3 years, which is the length of our Fringe Area Agreements. We might be seeing some pressure and requests for zoning. We concentrated on our CP2, which allows about 20-some types of businesses. We looked at maybe trying to find a happy medium between Iowa City and the County. I think we might want to put an overlay on it and restrict it a little bit. That’s where some of this conflict comes in to play. So, we’ll be meeting again in a couple of weeks and further the discussion of maybe possibly trying to narrow that down just a little bit. Let’s see, Pat Harney and I met with the County Attorney and Jeff Horne on the Medical Examiner. Budgeted just a little bit, just refreshing ourselves of where we’re at with the… We’re doing a real good job there with our contract with the University. By November 1st, we need to have something in place with the Field Investigators. We’re trying to discuss where we want to go with that and the ramifications of that and how it interplay’s with the other departments in the County. Also, I did attend a little bit of the demonstration by SCI. It was interesting hearing some of the questions from our departments as to how they might be able to use and accessibility, how it might apply to them and some of their… I thought we had some real good questions and applications. The lady giving the demonstration was well prepared. There were a couple of things she was going to get back to us on. But, I was just surprised at how adaptable it was to many of the different departments. I believe that’s all I have. The things we do here, just to let the public know. A lot of times they just see us here at our Formal Meetings, but as you can see from our reports, a lot of things that we attend as representatives of the Board, sometimes just as a volunteer to prepare ourselves more for discussions and decisions up here. I’d like to let the public know that we are out there. It’s not something we come up here and flip a coin on in our decisions when we get together in our Thursday meetings. There is a lot of background, we depend a lot on our staff, a lot of staffs of other entities and we depend on a lot of volunteers and committee members to help make us make these decisions. But, we’re the ones where the buck stops with us as far as budget and policy. I’d just like to bring that up because I think that, not that we feel taken for granted with the job we have to do, but I think people don’t always understand what it takes to be prepared up here. So, I throw my 2 cents in on that. Anything else the Board would like to add?
REVEREND BOB WELSH: ADMINISTRATION BUILDING REMODELING; AND SENIOR CENTER 28E AGREEMENT COMMITTEE
Lehman: If not we’d go to the Public Inquiries and Reports.
Welsh: Two things (inaudible) Mike. I think Sally raised a very good question in relation to the Administration Remodeling. If I remember the plans that I’ve seen, basically, the development is on both sides of your main entrance. I wonder whether or not it can’t be constructed, just an area where you could… An overhead like they do for sidewalks where most of the time you could maintain the pathway, a single pathway into the front. The construction really on both sides of that is the front doors there. But, that wouldn’t be a long period of time. I think what Sally embraced is a very valid question and we might want to discuss that and see if the Facilities Manager could work that out with the contractor. I’m sure it’s a lot easier to go back and forth between the 2 rather than around. But, from the public coming in, I’m always amazed at how many people come into this building and of all ages.
Lehman: That’s a good point. I think safety is one of the main items. We don’t want something falling if it’s (inaudible) construction. But, that’s a good point. I’ll visit with Mark to make sure that’s an option to work around.
Welsh: Even if that added a few dollars to that project, it might well be worth it in terms of convenience for that period of time to your plan.
Lehman: Good point.
Welsh: The other thing is, back on your discussions with the City and the County, at this point I realize you’ve appointed 2 people to represent you on the 28E Committee. I still think and hope that you’ll visit with the County Attorney. That you need to look, not only at your representation but at the makeup of that committee. I think, as Pat said, that Committee’s structure is such to 2 and 1, almost turns into failure and particularly from the one person who feels that the County is an agency. That’s not a basis for the 28E Agreement. So, I think that hopefully it’s the discretion with the City. I guess all I’m saying is I don’t think you need to just accept what the Senior Center (inaudible) has said as a possible structure. I think there can be other members besides the 2 Supervisors and the 2 City Council Members. Or maybe there shouldn’t be any higher representatives, just the 4 persons as members of the Committee. I think if you add persons to that Committee, (inaudible), you need to look at who that should be at that point.
Lehman: OK, thank you for that input. Would anyone else like to report or inquiry? Do Members of the Board have anything else they want to add? If not, I guess that concludes our Informal portion and we’ll adjourn. Thank you.
Adjourned at 10:38 a.m.
Attest: Tom Slockett, Auditor
By Casie Parkins, Recording Secretary