Spokesperson For Group That Opposed Osceola County Budget Talks About Unified Law, Petition

Sheriff car rear genericSibley, Iowa — A petition that protested the way Osceola County has been budgeting for Sheriff protection under Unified Law has come to fruition and means the county has to make changes. Edwin Jones was the man who found out there was something going on. He tells us how it all got started years ago.

Jones says that raised his suspicions, so he had some questions.

What he’s referring to is what’s called “Unified Law”, and it’s a way of paying for police protection. Jones says it’s pretty unique.

He says the agreement is many years old and apparently started in the late 70’s or early 80’s when the city of Sibley was having trouble affording a police department. He says the other towns were having the same trouble, so this agreement was forged. In the agreement, in addition to 24/7 response and drive-through service, Jones says Sibley wanted 24/7 police presence.

Jones says that he found out that in 2007, the board voted the rural communities out of the Unified Law agreement, but he says he can’t find anywhere where they were voted back in.

To make a long story short, Jones says a petition protesting the 2014 Osceola County budget was acted on by the State Appeal Board. The board sustained the 2014 budget, but ruled that Osceola County must comply with the law when the 2015 budget is put together. Jones says the taxpayers of Osceola County are due money back from the County, but the State Appeal Board did not have the ability to be able to enforce that, so he says he imagines that would have to be filed with the State Attorney General’s Office.

Jones also says that due to a pending, somewhat related federal court case, county officials are not able to comment on the ruling.

He also says that he has been told that instead of complying with the law, the county is attempting to write a new law that would allow them to keep the status quo.

Click here for the full text of the decision from the State Appeal Board

Click the play button (triangle) below for the full interview.

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