Supervisors discuss restoring 24hr paramedics, guns in courthouse in hours-long meeting

Supervisors discuss restoring 24hr paramedics, guns in courthouse in hours-long meeting

Two weeks after rural Woodbury County communities lost access to 24 hour paramedic coverage, the county's supervisors are discussing a plan to restore that service, but at a big cost to county taxpayers.

The county's finance director says to fund the hire of four new paramedics, supervisors would have to levy a tax and raise $288,000 dollars.

Mayors from several communities, including Correctionville, Pierson, Kingsley, Sloan, Sioux City and Lawton, spoke up in support of a tax hike in order to hire the paramedics.

"We had a lot of mayors here. We still have not heard back from all the municipalities. We did present them with some options, I believe about a week and a half ago and we have not heard back from all of them. It does appear that one's not going to fly," said chairman Rocky DeWitt.

Chairman DeWitt says the county is leaning toward going forward with the hiring of the medics as a service to the county's residents.

"We need to understand it's not an essential service and Woodbury County is one of the few that provides this but we are working towards a solution because we've got one of the bigger counties in this area," he said.

DeWitt says the supervisors will make a final decision on the plan at their meeting on Tuesday, January 30th.

The touchy subject of allowing weapons in the Woodbury County Courthouse also come up at tonight's meeting.

Supervisors agreed to send a letter to Chief District Judge Duane Hoffmeyer requesting him to permit guns on three of the eight floors in the courthouse.

The move comes after the Iowa Supreme Court modified an earlier order banning weapons from all court buildings, to simply banning them in court controlled areas of the buildings.

"There was some change in the language from chief justice Mark Cady from the Iowa Supreme Court, that seems like a little more allowing the counties to decide because it seems his opinion was written on as if all the county buildings were all the same structure and so forth. So obviously, court controlled spaces are going to be firearms free," said DeWitt.

If approved, citizens will be allowed to bring guns to the levels of the courthouse where county offices are located.

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