Board offers support for Riverside project

By Mary Zielinski
Posted 11/22/23


Following a brief presentation from Riverside’s City Administrator, Cole Smith, on the city’s plan for an English River seven-mile Water Trail Project, the supervisors Tuesday …

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Board offers support for Riverside project



Following a brief presentation from Riverside’s City Administrator, Cole Smith, on the city’s plan for an English River seven-mile Water Trail Project, the supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a letter to the Iowa DNR stating the project “has our full support and we respectfully request your favorable consideration of the City of Riverside’s application for funding assistance.” It also noted that it “would also serve as a welcoming place for individuals, families and groups in Riverside and in turn would result in economic growth for the city.”

The project also has support from the Kalona-based English River Water Management Authority (ERWMA), of which Riverside is among the founding members along the river.

During Tuesday’s session, Zach Rozmus, Washington County Conservation Board (WCBB) executive director, also offered support for the trail that will offer kayaking opportunities as well as river exploration, once the river returns to its normal depth. The project will feature docking facilities at the river from Riverside Road as well as site improvements.

There were indications that some funding may come from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation (WCRF) grant programs. Depending on weather factors and DNR action, work may start early next year.

Although the motion to add a Mandatory Overtime Fill Process for the Washington County Ambulance Service was approved 4-1 (with Richard Young opposed), most of the discussion, including concerns about possible effects on other departments that deal with emergencies, followed the vote.

The policy, which supervisor Jack Seward, Jr. stressed is a temporary measure to meet current needs and that it can be amended and even rescinded later, states: “When it is necessary to maintain the regular number of employees on each shift and the use of part-time employees or voluntary overtime has not been successful, it will be the obligation of full-time employees to work mandatory overtime.”

Such obligation “will start with the least senior full-time employee and proceed up the seniority list until all full-time employees have worked mandatory overtime.” It will then start over in the same order and “the list will start over every January 1.” It further states that Mandatory Overtime will compensate employees for hours worked at double their hourly rate and that hours do not count towards overtime.

The move is to provide the needed 24/7 coverage for the emergency service until there is a regular third shift for the emergency service. In explaining the need, which was also covered in the department’s recent annual report, acting director Katrina Altenhhofen called the move “an emergency band-aid.”

Seward agreed, stressing the need to fill that shift now, and that it is a temporary fix and that the board expects of have further discussions and meetings about the need. It also was noted that there is competition for qualified personnel from nearby counties, especially Johnson County.

In other business, the board was told by Seward that he is interested in another term on the Board of Health when the current one expires December 31.

The board also discussed a seven-question application form for those interested in serving on appointive boards and commissions in the county that seeks basic information about interest, qualifications, reason for applying, personal comments and any possible conflicts of interests. The board agreed to read, review and see if any revisions were needed prior to approval of the form, noting that final applicant approval rests with the board.

Washington County Supervisors, Iowa, Riverside, English River, Water Trail Project, Ambulance Service, mandatory overtime