An amount of $500,000 of the county’s CARES Act funding will be available to small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. At the August 25 meeting, the Fillmore County Board of Commissioners gave its approval to release the business grant application form for Economic Development relief grants of up to $10,000 to eligible businesses.
The grants are to be used for costs incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants will be awarded to eligible businesses on a first come, first serve basis. Highly impacted businesses may be prioritized. There will be only one application per business. Applications will be accepted beginning on September 1. Applications may be e-mailed to email@example.com or dropped off at the county administrator’s office.
Questions can be directed to Fillmore County EDA director Chris Hahn at firstname.lastname@example.org or to county administrator Bobbie Hillery at email@example.com or by calling (507) 765-4560.
The first round of applications will be reviewed by the EDA board on September 17 with a recommendation to the county board for their consideration on September 22. Recipients must comply with all federal and state CARES Act fund guidelines spelled out at home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares.
The CARES Business Relief Grant application will be available on the Fillmore County website on September 1. A hard copy of the application can also be picked up at the county administrator’s office in the courthouse.
Numerous 2021 departmental budgets were reviewed this day. Hillery explained the budgets as presented by the various departments would require a 6.53% increase in the levy. She showed some possible cuts that will bring the levy increase down to 4.26%. One adjustment was a health insurance increase of 9% rather than the 15% used in the budget process.
There are still unknowns that the board will have to consider when they approve a preliminary budget at their September 22 meeting. The state is dealing with a substantial deficit due to the pandemic, which could affect the amount of funding from the state. The board by consensus directed Hillery to find more savings and aim for a 3% levy increase, but to also allow for a cushion to protect the county from the unknowns.
Other business in brief
•The Minnesota Border to Border Broadband Development Grant program was created in 2014. The appropriation for this program for 2020 is twenty million. The EDA recommended the approval of two letters of support. One was for AcenTek, Inc. to bring fiber to Rushford Village/rural Rushford (374 subscribers). The other was from Harmony Telephone/Mibroadband to bring fiber to central Fillmore County (281 subscribers). Both letters of support were approved in separate motions. Fillmore County will make a no-interest loan in the amount of $75,000 available in support of each application.
•A resolution was adopted establishing the current market price for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) at $77.88 per ton. Drew Hatzenbihler said the price is set each year, based off disposal/transportation costs. The resolution is sent to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
•Public Health Dietician Jessica Holst was honored with the Loving Support Award of Excellence-Gold Premiere. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Special Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants and Children (WIC) has the program to recognize WIC agencies that provide exemplary breastfeeding promotion and support activities.
•Jessica Erickson, director of nursing, reported that the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s Grant in the amount of $7,000 will provide 300 books to give to families.
Erickson gave an update on COVID. Fillmore County is doing a great job; most nursing homes have done widespread testing. Erickson and Brenda Pohlman, the county’s COVID response operations chief, have been meeting with schools. Every school district has its own approach for the coming school year.
•Contract negotiations for a three-year contract with IUOE #49 (International Union of Operating Engineers) centered on COLA increases. Possible COLA increases of 2% in 2021, 2.25% in 2022, and 2.50% in 2023 will be taken back to union members for their consideration.
•The final payment was approved to Scott Construction, Inc. for the 2020 Seal Coat project. The final payment was approved to Orval Sorum and Sons (2020 Rock Contract) on CSAH 16E, Preston and Amherst Townships.
•The resignation of Samuel Judd, part-time deputy, was approved, effective August 24.
•The updated Recruitment policy was approved after its second reading.
•The Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT) dividend for 2020 is $72,808.