O'Brien County sets building subcommittee

The O’Brien County Board of Supervisors members listen as treasurer Missy Hattermann talks about her office’s operations this year. Her office continues to offer remote options for people needing to conduct business such as vehicle registration.

PRIMGHAR—The O’Brien County Board of Supervisors signed off on the appointment of a nine-member building subcommittee tasked with exploring options for a larger public health office space.

Public health nurse administrator Kim Morran pitched the idea for a more spacious office to the supervisors in August and requested a portion of the county’s American Rescue Plan Act funding to pay for it.

She said the existing public health office on the first floor of the courthouse does not have adequate room to ensure social distancing among clients and staff. It also lacks procedure rooms for several of the services the office performs as well as sufficient storage space.

Because renovating or relocating the public health office would be more complex than other rescue plan items the supervisors approved last month, the board members agreed a subcommittee should be formed to hammer out a vision for Morran’s request.

In addition to Morran, other subcommittee members are as follows:

  • Supervisor Dan Friedrichsen.
  • Supervisor Dennis Vanden Hull.
  • Primghar city clerk Carol Chicoine.
  • County Economic Development Corporation executive director Kiana Johnson.
  • Information technology director Tony Untiedt.
  • One county maintenance employee, as they are available.
  • Two public health board members.

At the board's meeting Tuesday, Oct. 5, auditor Barb Rohwer said having a maintenance staff member on the subcommittee will be useful because that individual can offer insight into how to use space that would be freed up should the public health office move. Friedrichsen agreed that will be an important consideration.

Supervisor Sherri Bootsma asked if county assessor Seth Postma would be open to relocating his office from the top floor of the courthouse to where Morran’s office is. Rohwer said she had the same idea and thought Postma also may be interested in making that switch eventually.

Friedrichsen said setting up a new or renovated health office would involve multiple steps.

“Location being one and on down the line. Contacting a planner, architect, engineer and so on,” he said. “I’m going to start calling around and talking to other counties for certain projects, the satisfaction level of architects and so on.”

Besides appointing building subcommittee members, the supervisors approved a tax abatement of $1,124 for a piece of city-owned property at 317 S. Maple St. in Paullina.

County treasurer Missy Hattermann told the supervisors her office’s functions have continued to run smoothly during the coronavirus pandemic. She said the drop-off box outside the courthouse sees steady use from people conducting business with her office.

“Rather than take off work just to turn in a set of plates for a refund, you can throw them in the drop-off box and it saves time,” Hattermann said.

People needing to complete vehicle registration paperwork through her office also still have the option to take photos of the front and back of all relevant documents then complete the process over e-mail.

“We still have a few people that do that, rather than take a day off work,” Hattermann said. “If you do the front and back of the title, we can input everything because we have it all right in front of us.”

The supervisors also approved applications for the following tax credits:

  • Business property.
  • Disabled veteran.
  • Homestead.
  • Military.