Monona considers getting help from parolees
By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor
Gene Bries from the Iowa Department of Corrections spoke to the Monona City Council March 17 about the possibility of the city participating in a parolee community services program to help get some maintenance and landscaping tasks done within the city.
The workers earn $7.25 per hour, but Bries said the city would bear none of that cost. The work goes toward paying fines and fees and for court-appointed attorneys, but cannot be used toward victim restitution. If the worker gets hurt, he/she would be covered by the state and considered a state employee.
Someone from the city would be responsible for keeping track of the worker’s hours, supervising the worker and possibly transportation if the worker does not live in Monona. Bries said there are some possible workers who live in the city that could work out well.
“I’ve had people who’ve worked off $10,000 fines,” Bries explained. “It’s great for small communities without a lot of money, but it’s also about taking someone who’s already here and getting them back on track.”
Living in a part of the state where finding and keeping a good job without having available transportation is difficult, Bries said the program often helps parolees work toward getting their drivers licenses back.
The city would especially like help with lawn mowing, but the council also brought up jobs like pool maintenance and park clean-up as some other possibilities.
“It will be a feel-as-you-go kind of thing. You guys have to know what you’re getting into,” Bries told the council, mentioning that the city would have access to the workers’ conviction history and information about what type of person he/she is.
Water service lines
PeopleService Operator Bob Penrod warned that the threat of frozen water and sewer lines is not over, so residents should still continue to monitor water temperatures and run their water if needed. With melting snow now leaving some yards uncovered, the frost has driven deeper into the ground, increasing the risk for frozen lines.
“The threat is not going away anytime soon. Things are going to start moving and shifting,” Penrod said of the ground. “Everyone’s just sitting on pins and needles.”