The Fillmore County Board at their May 10 meeting took a step forward to implement Fillmore County Community Corrections within the Community Services Model. The board has been discussing this move for a number of years.
A resolution was unanimously approved to withdraw from the Dodge-Fillmore-Olmsted Community Corrections (DFO) and the Joint Powers Agreement, effective January 1, 2023. Minnesota state statute was changed in 2016 to allow counties with a population under 30,000 to implement their own Community Corrections, if they have participated with a joint board for at least five years. Fillmore County will notify Dodge and Olmsted Counties, as required, by June 1.
Fillmore County’s appropriation to DFO paid to Olmsted County in 2022 is $479,406. This is more than was in the 2022 budget for DFO. County Administrator Bobbie Hillery said she has consulted other counties that have split off to be on their own. Fillmore County has been with DFO since 1974. Commissioner Duane Bakke noted that the population in Fillmore County has remained relatively steady over all those years while that of Olmsted County has increased by about two and a half times.
During the citizens input portion of the meeting, Travis Gransee, former DFO director, related some of the history of DFO. It has done a lot of good things. He said he was not present to talk the board out of choosing a different direction, saying they will do everything they can to support the transition. He said he would appreciate being involved in that process. Gransee currently is the deputy administrator in Olmsted County.
A motion was approved to have David Drown Associates provide a job description for a community corrections director and then to advertise for that position. Approval was given to create a planning committee to put together bylaws for Fillmore County Community Corrections. The committee would include the county attorney, administrator, sheriff, Social Services director and two commissioners (Bakke and Lentz).
Other business in brief
• The canvassing meeting for the 2022 Special Primary Congressional District 1 election will be held the day after the election, on May 25 (Bakke and Lentz).
• The filing period for General Election candidates is May 17-31. August 9 is the primary election and the election to fill the Congressional District 1 vacant seat. Mail-in ballots need to be witnessed.
• Approval was given to apply for the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant. Veterans Officer Jason Marquardt said the grant will be used to set up a program to prevent suicide and to hire a clinical counselor and a clinical social worker. The program will be 100% federally funded if it is accepted by the veterans administration. It will be in hosted in Fillmore County but serve veterans from Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Winona, and Olmsted Counties. There will be no fee for veterans. The grant is for up to three years.
• County Engineer Ron Gregg reported that only one bid was submitted for the construction of a 60-foot by 120-foot storage building in the Chatfield location. The bid was $645,386.31 submitted by Swartzentruber Construction LLC. It was well over the $400,000 set aside for the building. A motion to reject the bid was approved.
• A Master Agreement between Fillmore County and Minnesota Department of Transportation was approved. It is a five-year extension of an agreement already in place.
The State of Minnesota Airport Maintenance and Operation Grant Contract was renewed for another two years.
• Hillery updated the board on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The county received about $4.1 million. The final rule allows for a government entity that received under $10 million to get an exemption, which allows the funds to be used for a capital expenditure. She said the documentation was done by April 30. All guidelines have been followed.
• Hillery updated the board on 2022 technology projects. Many have been completed. She also discussed software upgrades.
• Approval was given for Hillery to attend Minnesota Association County Administrators Technical Day, July 28-29 in Duluth. Discussion topics include ARPA, opioids, homelessness, cybersecurity, election process, and strategic planning.