Out going EDA director Sam Smith introduced the new EDA director, Stephanie Hatzenbihler, at the June 27 meeting of the county board. Smith will continue with CEDA in the Mankato area. This was his last day with Fillmore County. During his time with the Fillmore County EDA, Smith worked to expand broadband to rural areas in the county. Rural Lanesboro was one of two applications submitted for a 2016 Border to Border Broadband Development grant. AcenTek is expected to break ground in late summer in the rural Lanesboro area where the grant application was successful.
In support of the grant applications to rural Lanesboro and rural Rushford, the county board agreed to provide $75,000 to support each application. This day the board formalized the establishment of a Broadband Development Fund in the amount of $150,000. This will be a revolving loan fund that will be paid back and used to support future applications for broadband grants. The fund will be used to support grant applications for any provider of services within the county.
The board approved an agreement with AcenTek to loan them $75,000, which will be repaid to the county over three years, pending county attorney approval of the agreement. Smith noted the provision of monetary support by a local government entity for an application is important; it adds points for an application when the application is reviewed by the office of Broadband Development. This is a competitive process for limited grant funding. The state grant in the Lanesboro area project provides about 25% of the total project cost.
Smith said it is our intention to resubmit an application for the Rushford project this year.
Chief deputy retirement
Chief Deputy Tony Webber’s last day is June 30. Sheriff Tom Kaase said he wants Kevin Beck to be appointed as chief deputy to replace Webber. Beck is currently Emergency Management/Assistant Jail Administrator. Kaase wants that position to be filled by Sgt. Don Kullot. A long discussion ensued about whether to have Beck go on an unpaid leave of absence or to enter into an agreement (as there has been in the past) to maintain his seniority in the event he left the chief deputy position. An agreement offers a chief deputy security that he will be able to get his former position back if someone else is elected sheriff.
Commissioners by consensus had a preference for an agreement over the leave of absence idea. The appointment requests were tabled until the next board meeting to give the union time to comment.
Kaase asked that the process be started to fill a deputy sheriff position. A motion to advertise for a deputy sheriff was approved with Gary Peterson voting no. Approval was also given to move a jailer position held by John Whitney from part-time to full-time.
The Sentence to Serve (STS) contract with the state was approved. Kaase called it a valuable program.
The Institution Community Work Crew (ICWC) contract was approved. This allows the county to bring in state prisoners which make up part of the STS crew. The contract is the same as the last two year contract.
Other business in brief
• Medical Examiner R. Ross Reichard reviewed the statistics for 2016. One-hundred fifteen cases were referred to the ME, of which there were 19 complete autopsies. Ninety-four percent were deaths by natural causes, mostly cardiac events or cancer. Most accidental deaths resulted from a fall of elderly persons. There was one death ruled a homicide and three suicides. There were no deaths due to a drug overdose in 2016 and only one in the last four years.
• Anne Koliha, SWCD, received board approval to adopt a summary of “other waters” into the Local Water Management Plan to satisfy the requirements of the Buffer Law. She said there are no additional maps, adding this is just a formality. There is no change to the water plan after going through this process.
• The advertisement for a full time social worker both internally and externally was approved. Salary and benefits for the social worker in the social services unit for mental health services will be paid with CREST funds.
• Four bids were received for the CSAH 1 reconstruction project. The low bid from Midwest Contracting at $3,499,758 was approved. The bid was under the engineer’s estimate.
A Master Partnership Contract between the county and MnDot was approved. The contract governs the provision of services and payment to each other.
• The 2017 Airport Master Plan and Airport Layout Plan Update and Professional Consulting Agreement with Bolton and Menk was approved. The scope of the work is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. The total fee is $243,100. The county is responsible for 5%, or $12,155.
Five hangar lease agreements were renewed. Gabrielle Kinneberg was appointed to the Airport Committee.
• A Joint Powers Agreement with the state of Minnesota, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, was approved as recommended by the county attorney and sheriff.
• A five-year license agreement between the county and the state of Minnesota benefiting the DNR for a communications antenna was approved. The county will receive $1,500 per year.
• Robert Goede, risk management consultant with Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust (MCIT), reviewed the 2017 member report. Goede explained that MCIT recognizes the risk while conducting business electronically. Therefore, MCIT has replaced its data compromise expense endorsement with a comprehensive data compromise and computer attack coverage solution issued and administered by Hartford Steam Boiler.
Goede noted Fillmore County has a track record that reflects good safety practices.
• Approval was given for Fillmore County to convey and deed lots 7 and 8 (lying south of Mill St.) to the city of Lanesboro.
• Computer replacements for 2017 were approved. HP had the low bid for laptops, $5,920. Dell had the low bid for desk tops, $12,600.
• Upgrades for the Veteran Services Office/Extension Office were approved to be paid for with the veterans grant.
• Approval was given to continue in the 2017 Performance Measures (13 Fillmore County goals). Authorization was given to submit 2016 Performance Measures to the state. The county receives a little over $2,000 for participation in the program.
• County Coordinator Bobbie Vickerman provided the budget timeline for the 2018 budgeting process. Commissioner Mitch Lentz suggested that department heads be directed to hold their budgets flat, thereby absorbing employee COLA and benefit increases.