OSKALOOSA — Members of the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors voted to increase the hourly rate of county police protection at the Jan. 3 meeting.

Board Chair Mark Groenendyk said that the current rate of $42 an hour should be increased to at least $48 to compensate inflation and additional costs.

“Insurance costs have gone up, workmen’s comp has gone up,” Groenendyk said.

Ultimately, the board unanimously agreed on $50 an hour for cities that contract county police protection.

During public comment, Joe Warrick addressed the board concerning a lack of funding for the Sheriff’s Department as it raised money to welcome a K-9 unit.

“Evidently the public out there has seen that [Sheriff Russell Van Renterghem] needed a dog to have as part of his tool box,” he said.”I would have thought that this board should have participated more in this, but I have not seen any evidence of that.”

After announcing their $55,000 fundraising goal in late September 2021, the Sheriff’s Office announced Dec. 20 that the goal was surpassed and a new K-9, Rocco, has joined the crew. Rocco will work with deputy sheriff David Wilke

Groenendyk said that the board has not been approached by the department about funding for the k-9 unit.

In other matters, the board:

- reappointed Mark Groenendyk and Steve Wanders as chair and vice chair;

- named the Oskaloosa Herald as the official newspaper for 2022

- set President’s Day (Feb. 21), Memorial Day (May 30), Independence Day (July 4), Labor Day (Sept. 5), Veteran’s Day (Nov. 11), Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday (Nov. 24 and 25), Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (Friday, Dec. 23 and Monday, Dec. 26) and New Year’s Day (Monday, Jan. 2, 2023) as holidays.

Shannon Rabotski can be reached at srabotski@oskyherald.com.

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