Sheriff John DeGeorge updated the Fillmore County Board at their January 12 meeting on the progress of the Jail Need Assessment Committee.
The full committee has identified four scenarios for the future of the aging jail and each of these options are being explored. The options include total outsourcing and the closing of the facility entirely, the construction or remodeling of the existing facility making it a 365-day facility, continuing as a 90-day facility, or reducing to a 72-hour book and hold facility.
The full committee has broken into four subcommittees. Community Outreach is working to get information from as many people as possible. Target Population looks at the the numbers including daily jail population averages, male and female numbers, different classifications of inmates, and in and out of county residents. Community Profile explores community resources. Jail Data looks at admissions, length of stay, daily population, and peak population.
DeGeorge explained there is some crossover between subcommittees and some subcommittees have more work to do before finishing their process. When the process is completed, a recommendation will be brought to the county board for its consideration.
Commissioner Duane Bakke asked if we can function as a 90-day facility long-term. DeGeorge said we could remain a 90-day facility, but it doesn’t change the state requirements, which the current facility doesn’t meet. Bakke asked if peak numbers will include those from other facilities. DeGeorge said we have to be prepared for peak numbers and the peak population still isn’t that high.
Chairman Randy Dahl referred to Sentence to Serve (STS), noting the program adds to population and allows local people to be in that program, saying, “I would like to keep people local, so they can be close to family and to mitigate transport.” DeGeorge agreed there is a benefit to keeping people local for family support and jobs. Some people are at a different risk level and need to be connected to family.
Other business in brief
• Assessor Jason McCaslin lead a discussion for the purchase of a ProWest Soil Clip tool. McCaslin and one of the appraisers argued that the ProWest tool was efficient in the development of reports of soil quality while evaluating agricultural land. It helps to delineate and identify individual land uses on a property. McCaslin requested the purchase of this tool.
McCaslin and his staff used the Schneider Soil Clip Tool and found it to be significantly less efficient. They recommended the ProWest tool.
Commissioners maintained they have just gone with Schneider GeoSpatial. Bakke said he was disappointed that this discussion didn’t happen prior to the move to Schneider. Bakke asked if we are still using ProWest. County Administrator Bobbie Hillery said there is a separate contract for dispatch services. McCaslin maintained there is nothing wrong with Schneider tools in general. An appraiser said it takes twice as long to use the Schneider Soil Clip Tool and there are constant glitches in the system.
A motion was approved setting up a committee to have a conversation with representatives of the companies. The committee will then report back to the board.
• Todd Froberg, DNR, updated the board on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) program. CWD sampling was not mandatory during the last fall hunting season. There were 3,600 voluntary samples. Nineteen positives were found, which is half of last year, but significantly fewer were tested. Preston-Lanesboro area is still the main core area of disease.
The USDA-Wildlife Services will contract to do additional culling in the core areas in SE Minnesota. Culling will occur between February 1 and April 2. Froberg said with the disease persisting they would like access to county land. A resolution was approved that authorizes access to county farm property, only field numbers 8 and 9, for the purpose of disease control from January 19 through April 2.
• David Drown & Associates has provided classification and wage recommendations for an appointed auditor/treasurer. Approval was given to advertise for an auditor/treasurer.
• Approval was given to purchase about 20 jackets for multiple safety awards as recommended by the Safety and Emergency Management Committee.
• Appropriations for 2021 were approved; $2,000 for Root River Trails, $5,000 for SE Minnesota EMS, $1,056.10 for SE Minnesota Tourism Association, and $2,000 for SE Minnesota Initiative Fund. An appropriation for Semcac will be considered at the next meeting. Other agency appropriations were budgeted and already approved; $244,809 for SELCO, $46,800 for Historical Society, $750 for Memorial Day, $37,000 for Ag Society, and $217,000 for Soil & Water Conservation District.
• The Fillmore County Journal was designated as the legal newspaper. The rate of $11.49 per square inch was approved for legal notices and the delinquent tax notice. The rate of $5 per square inch was approved for the publication of the 2020 Financial Statement.
• The committee appointment list was approved and unchanged from last year.