During the April 23 Fillmore County Board meeting, Auditor/Treasurer Heidi Jones explained there have been many questions from citizens concerning voting in the upcoming 2020 primary and general elections.
Jones said she has received over 300 applications for absentee ballots. Application for an absentee ballot can be accepted online. Also, everything will be in place for voting in-person at one’s polling place for precincts that have in-person voting.
Some precincts in Fillmore County with 400 or less voters have been voting by mail-in ballot in past elections. More precincts will be using the mail-in ballot this year due to the pandemic. It was noted that any precinct that uses mail-in voting can choose to switch back to in-person voting in future elections.
Voting information will be posted on the county’s website and on Facebook.
Jones said the county has reopened passport processing, but warned that acceptance facilities have minimal staff and it may take months. She encouraged people to wait until late summer to apply for a passport.
Other business in brief
• The county declaration of a State of Emergency for continuing operations from COVID-19 has been extended through July 28.
• County Administrator Bobbie Hillery shared information she had gathered to this point including costs for a technology upgrade for courthouse meeting rooms. She will continue looking at options and obtain additional quotes.
Hillery explained that due to the pandemic, the jury room is not big enough to seat a jury. The county is responsible for paying for an off site room or needs to provide rooms that can be utilized by the court. There is a jury trial set for July 28, which is also a day the county board meets. Therefore, the county board will meet either in room 108 of the office building or by WebEx, to be determined. There will be a call in number posted in either case. Assuming the trial goes forward as scheduled, the board room will be available for the court.
• An agreement with Schneider Geospatial for Custom 911 consulting per grant agreement with the state was approved.
• A proposal from CPS Technology Solutions for hosting fees for AS400 and monthly replication was approved.
• Hillery provided a timeline for the budgeting process. Allocations from the state are not known at this point. Hillery credited department heads for being frugal, “We have cut positions and learned to operate more efficiently.”
• Illegal dumping at the remote recycling sites has been an issue. Drew Hatzenbihler, sanitation, said he didn’t feel the issue is more significant than in past years. He reported on some options for cameras and the cost to put them in place. Commissioner Mitch Lentz said some illegal dumping might have been increased temporarily because some cities have not held their city wide clean-up this year due to COVID-19. Commissioner Duane Bakke suggested, with more time at home during the pandemic people may have collected unwanted items to be thrown out, causing a spike.
Lentz insisted the highway department personnel should work with sanitation to catch those dumping illegally. County shops are next to remote sites. If a refrigerator or piece of furniture is on the site that was not there yesterday, highway employees should call Hatzenbihler. Lentz maintained that trail cameras should be sufficient to catch people dumping illegally.
• Foster Care Transportation agreements with Mabel-Canton, Lanesboro, Rushford, Fillmore Central, and Kingsland public schools were approved.
• The 2018 audit from Clifton Allen Larson was approved. Approval was given to publish the 2018 audit based on the legal bid from the Fillmore County Journal. Finance director Lori Affeldt reported that three banks are interested in providing banking service and investments. She was directed to compile information from the banks and bring a recommendation back to the board.
• Sharon Sullivan was hired as a replacement social worker effective July 13.