BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
MONTROSE – County leaders moved one step closer to additional controls over two health-related issues on Tuesday.
At the Lee County Board of Supervisor’s regular meeting, the board unanimously approved the second readings of ordinances that would regulate tanning operations in the county, as well as prohibiting vaping in any county public building.
The tanning issue came up in December when Lee County Health Department Administrator Michele Ross told the board the state Dept. of Public Health was no longer going to inspect tanning bed facilities. She said the county should pick up the inspections as the facilities need to be monitored for health and safety.
The board issued the first reading at it’s Jan 2. meeting of an ordinance that continues the inspections with a fee of $35 per bed. Ross said she’s only received one call about continuing the inspections.
“I received one call from the first reading and we answered the question,” Ross said.
“She was just concerned about the maximum charge of $500 and we assured her that it’s just $35 per tanning bed and she only has two. That’s the only response I had from the community regarding the ordinance.”
Several supervisors said they hadn’t heard any response from the first reading or previous discussions.
Ross also said the vaping ordinance banning the products from any county owned building is a good first step in intervening into the dangers of the using the product.
“Right now, the Iowa Smoke Free Air Act doesn’t include vaping,” Ross said.
“The reasons we wanted to bring an ordinance in front of the board is on a local level to address this public health concern about the dangers of vaping and try to do whatever intervention strategies we can do to convince those who haven’t started vaping to not.”
Supervisor Rick Larkin reiterated that even if the county building is in city limits, the ordinance is still enforced.
“When we say county facilities, if they are located within the city limits, it’s still a county facility,” he said.
The Fort Madison Police Department recently released information that they will be participating in Iowa’s I-PLEDGE program aimed at curtailing the sale and use of vaping products to underage people.
Undercover efforts take place under the program to send minors into establishments in an effort to purchase the products in conjunction with the police department.
Ross said the moves are a good start.
“Anything we can do to adopt a policy to prevent vaping in public places would be an ideal situation. Public buildings would be a start, Reed said.
Both ordinances require a final third reading next Tuesday before they become part of the county code.