Discussion continued from the previous board meeting regarding a proposed leasing program, Enterprise Fleet Management, for squad cars at the county board’s May 8 meeting. Sheriff Tom Kaase said he believed we will see greater savings in repairs with the management program. Vehicles will be run for fewer miles, which will result in a higher resale value. During the presentation two weeks ago, Wong Nystrom, account executive, maintained the county could save at least $10,000 per year by the leasing-to-own program for squad vehicles.
County Attorney Brett Corson had presented several questions about the lease agreement after it was sent to him for review. Corson said Enterprise did make clarifications and they were accommodating in regard to requested changes to the agreement. They answered all questions.
Kaase noted the Law Enforcement Committee suggested the lease program is something the board should look at. The lease company recommends replacing vehicles at about 90,000 miles to get the “best bang for the buck.” Chief deputy Kevin Beck said they advise, but we have the final say when to turn over a vehicle.
Kaase said the estimated 5% interest rate allows for Enterprise to make a profit and pay the cost for the management program.
At the last meeting commissioner Randy Dahl apologized for not always replacing Sheriff Department vehicles on schedule. Commissioner Duane Bakke said Dahl should not apologize for not replacing vehicles on schedule when the Sheriff’s Department had not budgeted for their replacement.
Beck said with this program vehicles will be delivered. Currently, buying through the state bid requires people to go to Hibbing to pick up the vehicle or pay to have it delivered.
The Sheriff Department’s equipment installed in the vehicle belongs to the county. Dahl added he would like to see a commonality in vehicles so equipment will fit into the next vehicle.
Kaase insisted projections look favorable and beneficial, so the county could save some money. He added they are looking at Ford SUVs which are less costly and get better mileage.
Beck noted the two vehicles that have been ordered would go into the lease program if the program is approved. Bakke suggested leasing four vehicles and selling high mileage cars. A motion was made to enter into a lease for four vehicles (includes the two already ordered). The four vehicles will be three Ford Utility Interceptors and one Ford Equinox. The motion was unanimously approved contingent on county attorney Corson’s approval of the final paperwork.
At the next meeting in two weeks the board will be presented with the final lease to review before it is signed by chairman Mitch Lentz.
Other business in brief
• Fifteen properties are on the forfeited properties list for nonpayment of taxes. The board approved a resolution classifying all of these as non-conservation properties.
Heidi Jones, auditor/treasurer’s office, explained two of the properties may need approval from the Department of Natural Resources before sale of the land. One in Preble Township has standing timber (MN statute 282.01) requiring DNR approval. The other in Harmony Township has over 530 feet of waterfront (MN statute 282.018) requiring DNR approval. Both properties are in Marc Prestby’s district. The DNR would have first option when these properties go to tax forfeiture.
A second resolution requesting approval from the DNR will be brought back to the next meeting. Bakke had a question about the waterfront/public waters statute applying to the Harmony Township property.
The state awarded Fillmore County a $50,117.20 grant for the purchase of the updated model of Tabulator/Assisted Voting Devices. The county will match the grant amount. The total cost for hardware, software and services is $114,160. Annual hardware maintenance and license fees are $5,005. County coordinator Bobbie Vickerman explained the out-of-pocket expense for the county will total about $69,000. The county share of the purchase was budgeted. The grant and budget for the purchase of election equipment was accepted.
• An online training course set up through DS Solutions, Inc. and charges per participant for training election judges was approved as presented. Vickerman explained equipment dollars can be used for training expenses.
• Vickerman said Jones had brought to her attention calculations by Mower County that were incorrect. These incorrect calculations affected property tax statements of bordering county properties in Fillmore County. About 600 statements will be reprinted. Mower County will pay to rerun those property tax statements. A letter will be sent out to property owners that are affected explaining the recalculation.
• Citizens Input. Bonita Underbakke, Holt Township, urged commissioners to study a draft Environmental Assessment Worksheet regarding a proposed 4,890 head swine farrowing facility in Newburg Township, 10 miles east of Harmony, before deciding whether or not to grant permits.
• A request to advertise for bids on two Local Road Improvement Program projects in Carrolton Township was approved (Goodview Dr. Surfacing project and Heron Rd. Surfacing project).
A resolution to accept Local Road Improvement Program funds for the city portion of reconstruction projects, CSAH 1 and 3, within the city of Ostrander was approved, along with the grant agreement. The grant funds total $341,895.42.
• A proclamation proclaiming May as Mental Health month was approved.
• Tom Thompson was appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission, representing District 5, as recommended by Prestby.