Due to a recent supervisory order by the Iowa Supreme Court, our Woodbury County supervisors directed District Judge Duane Hoffmeyer to draft a court order allowing citizens to carry firearms in certain areas of the courthouse, Trosper Hoyt Building and Law Enforcement Center. These buildings are currently gun-free areas with a metal detector located at the courthouse.

Aside from the obvious concerns regarding employee and visitor safety, the Taxpayers Research Council is deeply disturbed to learn of the potential cost this change will have on taxpayers. According to Sheriff Dave Drew, these changes could possibly triple his security budget, which currently sits at roughly $230,000 and includes nine part-time security officers. When all is said and done, allowing this could potentially cost the taxpayers anywhere from $600,000 to $1 million.

What is causing this sharp increase? Additional security directly related to the new changes in firearm restrictions. Due to some areas of the three buildings retaining their firearm bans, security officers have to ensure these areas remain gun free. While an exact plan and dollar amount is still unknown, additional cameras and manpower will almost certainly be required.

We also learned that the county could possibly have a difficult time finding additional part-time employees to meet this need, meaning full-time positions may have to be created. All of this will likely end in an unneeded increase in your tax bill.

The Taxpayers Research Council urges our county supervisors to retain a firearm ban in these three buildings. It is our belief that it not only places county staff and visitors in unnecessary danger, but it puts an unneeded burden on county taxpayers. - Taylor Goodvin, executive director, Taxpayers Research Council

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