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Lee County Addressing Audit Concerns

Jun 12, 2013

Lee County believes it has come up with a way to address an issue that popped up during the county's most recent audit.

Lee County Board of Supervisors

The county invested $75,000 in IO-Mega, which is a local start-up business.  In exchange, the company gave the county a 1.84% ownership stake.

The county proceeded to pass that ownership stake along to Friends of the Lee County Health Department, which is a non-profit organization.

Friends of the Lee County Health Department also received a roughly $75,000 gift from the health department, via an individual's estate.

The State Auditor's Office flagged both of those transactions in its review of the county for the fiscal year ending June 1, 2012.

Its concerns focused on restrictions on governmental bodies making gifts to private, non-profit corporations.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors has signed off on a 28E agreement between the county and the Friends of the Lee County Health Department to try to address those concerns.

The oversight agreement states that any donation to the non-profit must be invested and that only the earned interested can be spent.

Another requirement is that only the Lee County Health Department can benefit.

A copy of the agreement has been sent to the State Auditor's office for review.

Meanwhile, the supervisors have also approved a series of mental health-related contracts for the fiscal year that beings July 1, 2013.

CPC Administrator Ryanne Wood says the nine contracts cover everything from transportation to psychiatric services.

She says the language and costs of service outlined in most of the new contracts is identical to the current contracts.

One exception is the contract between the county and Burlington-based Hope Haven, which manages the county's drop-in community center.

Wood says the cost of the contract will increase by about 2%.

She says that amount of an increase is warranted, as she anticipates a significant boost in usage.

Wood says residents will start losing access to services as the redesign of Iowa's mental health system proceeds, so the drop-in center will serve as a safety net for anyone in need of service.

This will likely be the last year Lee County works out contracts with individual providers.

Wood says the regional system is scheduled to begin July 1, 2014.

Lee County is expected to work with Louisa, Henry, Des Moines, Van Buren, Washington and Keokuk Counties as a southeast Iowa region.

Wood says the group is still working on its bylaws and seeking state approval for its application to work together.