Supervisors discuss reopening courthouse, add more hires to ambulance department

The Washington County Supervisors approved the hiring of five part-time paramedics.

The Washington County Board of Supervisors discussed reopening the courthouse when it met in regular session Tuesday. Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. said the courthouse was closed March 17 to all but essential personnel. The county has been continuously monitoring the COVID-19 effect on the county. He said the county’s goal is to eliminate the negative impact on the most vulnerable citizens and that courthouse operations would continue to be by appointment only, as has been the case since March 17, until further notice.

Ambulance Department Hires

The supervisors approved adding more members to the staff of the new Washington County Ambulance Department.

Previously, the board had approved recommendations from department head Jeremy Peck to hire a number of full-time employees. At the Tuesday meeting, the board approved Peck’s recommendation to hire five part-time paramedics at a wage of $21.55 an hour including Brandee Kleopfer, Carrie Ornduff, Mike Freel, Kenneth Dean Miller and Wesley Love.

The supervisors earlier approved the purchase of ambulances and other medical equipment from Washington County Ambulances, Inc. but tabled a lease agreement pending attorney review. At the Tuesday meeting, the supervisors again tabled the lease agreement as contract details remain to be worked out. The new department will begin ambulance operations on July 1.

Engineer’s Report

County Engineer Jacob Thorius presented his department’s quarterly report. He said the department hauled 42,043 tons of rock during the first quarter. A total of $305,408.90 was spent on snow removal during the quarter. Trash removed from ditches included three television sets, a couch, a mattress, dresser, chair and numerous tires. He said construction has begun on replacing an 18 by 60 foot bridge on 130th Street with a triple 10 by 12 by 50 foot reinforced concrete box culvert. He said about 90 percent of the work has been completed with $316,000 paid and $80,000 remaining.

Thorius also said he attended a meeting at the White House in February to discuss the importance of funding the Highway Trust Fund and streamlining federal regulations.

Personnel Changes

The board approved the following personnel changes:

*Hiring Justin Peterson as an additional Engineer’s Department mechanic at rate of $24.44 an hour and

*Increasing the rate of pay from $11 to $12 an hour for Kyle Harland, the County Conservation Department summer aide.

Other Business

In other business, the supervisors:

*Approved antenna lease agreements with the Kalona and Riverside related to the county’s new communications project;

*Acknowledged a $1,000 K-9 program donation for law enforcement from Walmart and

*Discussed a Covid-19 virus update.