WATERLOO (AP) — Waterloo Fire Rescue's proposal to bill insurance companies for its emergency response costs has been rejected.
City council members voted 5-2 Monday against the plan that would seek payments for the city's manpower and equipment costs when responding to car accidents, fires and other emergency calls, The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported.
Councilman Bruce Jacobs said the plan is "just not politically acceptable right now." He was joined by Sharon Juon, Steve Schmitt, Jerome Amos Jr. and Margaret Klein in rejecting the measure.
"I thought it was a good source of revenue to reduce our budget for public safety," Jacobs said. "But after talking to many people in my ward, not one person was in favor of it."
The department's proposal wouldn't have billed victims directly and wouldn't have sought payment when insurance didn't cover the fees.
But several residents still voiced objections to the plan before the vote, noting that they already pay taxes for public safety services.
Resident Todd Obadal called the plan a "backdoor, off-the-book tax" aiming to make the property tax rate look lower without actually reducing costs.
More than 900 cities in more than 40 states utilize fire recovery fees, said Fire Chief Pat Treloar. He said insurance experts have told him that about 50 percent of insurance policies have some level of coverage for fire rescue response.
"I thought we had support to pass the initiative but I was wrong,"Treloar said. "I respect the decision of the council."
Federal agency fines Iowa nursing home over deficiencies
BUFFALO CENTER (AP) — The federal government has fined an Iowa nursing home nearly $77,500 over deficiencies in care for residents.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services notified Timely Mission in Buffalo Center about the fine on Friday, the Globe Gazette reported.
The notification letter cites findings from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, which surveyed the facility in June. Officials said they found conditions that constituted "immediate jeopardy" to resident health and safety.
According to state officials, nursing home resident Virginia Olthoff, 87, was dehydrated, in severe pain and weighed less than 100 pounds prior to her death in February. They said staffers waited nearly three hours before requesting an ambulance, despite being unable to get a blood pressure reading or feel her pulse.
Olthoff may not have had water for several days before being admitted to the hospital, state officials said. She died after being returned to the nursing home on Feb. 27, the same day she was admitted to the hospital.
The facility has 60 days to appeal the federal fine. The CMS letter said the fine will be reduced by 35 percent if nursing home officials waive their right to an appeal.
Timely Mission President Lorie Bierle declined to comment to the newspaper.
Man dies after boat overturns in Des Moines River
EDDYVILLE (AP) — Authorities say a man died after a boat capsized on the Des Moines River in southern Iowa.
Rescuers were sent to a spot on the southern end of Mahaska County around 7 p.m. Sunday to check a report about a capsized boat and people in the water. The Mahaska County Sheriff's Office says 46-year-old Martin Almond was found unconscious in the river and that he was declared dead later at a hospital. He lived in Oskaloosa.
The Ottumwa Courier reports that a woman seen floating down the river from where the boat capsized was rescued near Eddyville.
Woman charged with vehicular homicide for 2 crash deaths
CEDAR RAPIDS (AP) — A Cedar Rapids woman has been charged with vehicular homicide for the crash deaths of two people in Linn County.
The Linn County Sheriff's Office says 23-year-old Brianna Stastny was arrested Sunday. Court records don't list the name of an attorney who could comment for her.
Deputies say 22-year-old Kaelonnie Moore and 43-year-old Darla Moander, both of Cedar Rapids, where killed in the Sept. 29, 2017, crash on U.S. Highway 151 near Cedar Rapids. Deputies say Stastny was driving south and attempting to pass another vehicle when she struck a northbound vehicle driven by Moander.
Stastny was treated at a hospital. Investigators say she was under the influence of marijuana when the collision occurred.