Supervisors vote down courthouse mask mandate

Robert Maharry
The Grundy Register

GRUNDY CENTER- As COVID-19 cases continue to surge around the state, one Grundy County Supervisor asked his fellow board members at Monday morning’s regular meeting whether the county should consider returning the courthouse to a “by appointment” basis only and/or requiring masks for all who enter.


“When we closed the courthouse in March, there were 200 or 300 new cases per day (in Iowa), and at the present time, it’s twice that many,” Supervisor Jim Ross said. “I’d rather be proactive than reactive if our numbers in this community go higher… We should still emphasize safety first and convenience second.”


Ross, however, did not find any allies among the three other supervisors in attendance (Heidi Nederhoff was absent), all of whom said that they favored the status quo in keeping the courthouse open without requiring masks. Currently, the courtroom and the Clerk of Court’s office, which are under state administration, do require masks, but none of the county departments have instituted a mandate.


“The employees were in favor of opening up. Everyone has to take some responsibility for themselves,” Supervisor Chuck Bakker said. “If they don’t feel comfortable coming into the courthouse, they shouldn’t come into the courthouse.”


Board Chairwoman Barb Smith and Supervisor Mark Schildroth expressed similar sentiments, as Smith worried that a mask requirement was “too much big brother,” before Ross asked her if she wore a seatbelt when she drove.


“I respect Jim’s concern, (but) I’m probably not ready to go there yet,” Schildroth said. “I think the status quo seems to be working.”


Ultimately, Ross’s motion to require masks throughout the courthouse failed by a 3-1 vote.


After a brief public hearing, the board voted 4-0 to grant an easement to the city of Grundy Center for a welcome sign along the Pioneer Trail at the north edge of town.


County Engineer Gary Mauer reported that he had secured another purchase agreement for 0.11 acres of land near the intersection of Grundy Road and Zaneta Road for the paving project at a total cost of $3,520 including abstracting fees. It was also reported that resurfacing on Highway 14 has begun from the Liscomb turnoff (S-75) to the Grundy County line. The well-traveled highway has been closed since June from Highway 175 south to Highway 96.

            IN OTHER BUSINESS, the board:

·      Approved a low fuel quote from Nutrien Ag Solutions of Conrad.

·      Approved a request for the use of the courthouse grounds from the Kling Memorial Library.

·      Heard a presentation from Terry Ebke on Legalshield and ID Shield.

·      Appointed the 2020 compensation commission.

·      Approved a liquor license renewal for Oak Leaf Country Club.

·      Approved the Washington Township FY 2020 report.

·      Approved the payment of bills.


The Grundy Register

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Grundy Center, IA 50638
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