County considers billing other counties for Guidelink usage



Johnson County, which opened the Guidelink Center in early 2021 to help those with mental health and substance-abuse needs, may soon be seeking financial help from neighboring counties whose residents sometimes receive help at the Guidelink Center.

Those counties include Washington County, although only 11 residents of Washington County sought assistance at the Guidelink Center from February through June of this year, according to a statistical report presented to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors at its July 27 work session.

The Guidelink Center, which is located on Southgate Avenue in Iowa City, saw more than 1,800 patients in the last five months, including nearly 1,000 walk-ins from a number of counties. In addition to walk-in patients, many arrive at Guidelink due to referrals from urgent care facilities or hospitals or via law enforcement transfers.

A majority of the patients are Johnson County residents, but they also come to Guidelink from Linn, Muscatine, Scott, Iowa and Washington counties.

Johnson County will spend nearly $1 million in operating expenses, after insurance and other income kicks in. The county covers sobering issues 100% and does not turn back patients.

As the center has grown in its number of patients, a statistic that executive director Abbey Ferenzi expects will get larger over time, Johnson County Supervisor Rod Sullivan suggested that it may be time to ask other counties for financial assistance.

“This is coming straight out of county money for substance abuse,” he said. “It seems obvious to me we need to figure out some way to at least send a bill.”

Supervisor Lisa Green-Douglass agreed.

“Until we ask, we are not likely to get that money,” she said. “Will we get all that we bill? Probably not. But will we get some of it? Yes.”

Guidelink is open 24 hours a day. For more details, go to:, or call (319) 688-8000.

Bridge projects

At its formal voting session August 4, the board will consider approving a contractor bid for a bridge improvement on Orval Yoder Turnpike SW, north of Frytown.

Cramer & Associates of Grimes, a Des Moines suburb, was the low bidder for a patching and overlay bridge project on Orval Yoder Turnpike SW as it passes over Old Mans Creek. The bid, one of two submitted, was $344,972.

Another bridge project, a replacement of the bridge on Half Moon Avenue SW over Deer Creek near Tiffin, was proposed to be awarded to Peterson Contractors of Reinbeck for $380,085.

Asbestos agreement

At its July 28 formal session, the board approved an agreement with AAA Budget Environmental of Monticello for an asbestos assessment and possible removal at three properties, including one in the Lone Tree area.

A building located at 6984 Lola Lane SE is scheduled for demolition as part of the county’s flood prone property buyout program. But before the property is cleared, asbestos testing and abatement is required. The property is located along the Iowa River, southwest of Lone Tree.

The two other flood-prone properties are in Iowa City.

The board also approved $374,114 in Economic Development and Quality of Life grants, including $50,000 to the Field to Family food nonprofit and $40,000 to the Iowa City Bike Library.

Johnson County, Guidelink Center, Board of Supervisors, Half Moon Avenue, Orval Yoder Turnpike, Frytown


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