IMU
The can and bottle recycling drop off location next to Arby's, run by supporters of IHS Project Graduation, is CLOSED based on concerns of COVID-19.  Organizers are requesting that individuals do not leave any donated cans or bottles at the site until further notice.
 
MARCH 25 — 

Contact information for Warren County buildings

On March 25, the Warren County Board of Supervisors extended the closure of county buildings (except for the Court Facility) until further notice. Citizens in need of service should contact the department to make an appointment.
Assessor 515-961-1010
Attorney 515-961-1014
Auditor 515-961-1020
Board of Supervisors 515-961-1001
Conservation 515-961-6169
Emergency Management 515-961-1108
911 Administration 515-961-1093
Engineer 515-961-1050
General Assistance 515-962-5132
Public Health 515-961-1074
Information Technology 515-961-1192
Mental Health 515-961-1059
Nutrition 515-961-1003
Recorder 515-961-1089
Sheriff 515-961-1122
Treasurer 515-961-1110
Veteran Affairs 515-961-1045
Zoning 515-961-1060
For more information about COVID-19 please visit our website www.warrencountyia.org
or call the hotline - 211

Indianola schools say kids must be present to get grab-and-go meal

Indianola Community School District will offer meals only to children who show up at its grab-and-go meal sites beginning Wednesday, said assistant superintendent Ron Lorenz.

The district has been allowing people to pick up meals for multiple children after Governor Kim Reynolds recommended only one person leave the house for errands, he said. But the Department of Education, Bureau of Food and Nutrition, which ensures schools are complying with the federal hot lunch program requirements, notified the school that children must be present to receive a meal.

While the district has asked for clarification between that rule and the governor’s direction, he said, in the meantime, “we’re going to give meals only to kids who are present on site.”

The district is offering meals, usually including a cold meat sandwich, a fruit or vegetable and a milk, at four locations, including Emerson, Whittier and Wilder elementaries, along with Weinman Insurance in Indianola. Meals are available to children between the ages of 3 and 18.

MARCH 24 — Indianola won't disconnect utility customers for 60 days, agrees board of trustees

The Indianola Municipal Utilities will not disconnect water, electric or communication services due to lack of payment for 60 days, agreed members of the IMU board of trustees during a regular meeting Monday.

Members of the board and staff participated in the meeting by phone, as the meeting was broadcast over the usual streaming service, carrying the voices of those on the phone and showing an empty Indianola city council chamber to viewers.

The utility also won’t charge any late fees during the same period. While bills may continue to note the past due payment or potential disconnection, they also will include a note clarifying that the utility will not be carrying out the disconnection, said staff.

“It’s something the utility can do to help people in this time, it is certainly a community benefit,” said IMU general manager Chris DesPlanques.

“I just feel pretty strongly, we’re really there for the benefit of the community,” said Mike Rozga, chair of the board of trustees. “I think it’s appropriate for us to suspend this temporarily and I’m sure it will provide some relief to some folks.”

DesPlanques said MidAmerican also has suspended disconnections while other public utilities are waiting on action from their boards.

“We would be on the early side of this,” he said. “But I would expect to see more of it.”

Dianna Lane, a customer service supervisor with IMU, said the utility already is starting to see customers calling in to say they are struggling.

The Indianola City Council has a similar proposal on its agenda for Wednesday.

At the same time, DesPlanques told the board the city’s fiber communication system is holding up well to the strains of more people working from home.

“We did as a precautionary measure increase our bandwidth capacity,” he told the board, adding about 15 percent to the utility’s capacity. The utility was using about 40 to 45 percent of its capacity on an average day, he said.

“With the influx of the work from home folks that’s jumped to about 65 percent,” he said.

The peak usage still comes during off-work hours, said DesPlanques.

“I don’t expect to see a big spike anytime soon,” said Kurt Ripperger, superintendent of the communications utility. “Our usage curve looks a lot like a weekend curve. There’s still plenty of capacity during the day.”

Adam Voigts, a member of the board who serves as chief financial officer at Drake University, said he had been working at home since Wednesday. “I’ve been just amazed about the processing speeds,” he said. “I connect myself to work through a VPN connection faster than if I was sitting at my desk at work.”

DesPlanques said in an email that the utility is completing its scheduled installations of fiber, but then is starting a waiting list and will resume installs "when the situation allows." 

Staff also updated the board on issues surrounding the cooronavirus, including efforts to follow social distancing.

The customer service facility is closed to the public, DesPlanques said, although most of the customer service team is in the office because they handle money.

Crews are working from different locations to create appropriate social distancing, and some areas are planning for the worst-case scenario.

“We’ve gone as far as talking about bringing in our campers and saying — ‘you’re just here,’ but that’s our worst-case scenario,” said Mike Metcalf, head of the electric department.

In other business, the board also agreed to purchase a 55-foot bucket truck for the electric department for $219,719. The truck replaces a 1999 truck, which will be sold.

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