During a relatively brief meeting of the Fillmore County Board on February 1, Chairman Mitch Lentz, during committee reports, related that he had attended a workshop on human trafficking in southeast Minnesota.
Lentz said he was disappointed and surprised to learn that human trafficking is prevalent in our own backyard. Bonita Underbakke, during the Citizens Input portion of the meeting, said she was surprised he was surprised. She asked if there is anything the county commissioners can do to better educate the public to prevent human trafficking. Commissioner Duane Bakke suggested there could be education in schools through law enforcement. Underbakke insisted enough is not being done to help protect kids, so that they are not easy prey. Bakke noted Dodge/Fillmore/Olmsted (DFO) Community Corrections provides Victims Services in all three counties. Lentz concluded; they will look into what is being offered.
Dan Martin also spoke during Citizens Input insisting social services is a problem in the county. He asked for a committee hearing, adding he was tired of fighting by himself. Bakke suggested he have a conversation with two commissioners on the Social Services committee, the department head, and the county attorney.
Other business in brief
•Anne Koliha, district administrator SWCD, requested and received signature and approval for two 2021 final closeout reports. One hundred percent of the grant funds for 2021 Wetland Conservation Act in the amount of $8,778 and the 2021 Local Wastewater Management grant in the amount of $14,278 have been expended. Funds were all spent on staff time. This day was Koliha’s first day as district administrator. Koliha has also been acting as the county’s feedlot officer.
•Cristal Adkins, zoning administrator, requested and received signature and approval for two 2021 final close out reports. One hundred percent of the grant funds for 2021 Septic Treatment Systems in the amount of $18,600 and the 2021 Shoreland grant in the amount of $2,692 have been expended.
•County Engineer Ron Gregg requested and received approval to advertise for the reconstruction of CSAH 36 in the City of Whalan (from the bridge in Whalan to the Pie Shop).
•Chief Deputy Lance Boyum received approval of the 2022 ANCOM Motorola Service contract for the total amount of $16,909.43 for 12 months. This is a yearly contract for mobile and dispatch radios. The cost was about 5% higher than last year.
Boyum received approval of the 2022 Central Square RMS Maintenance contract for a total amount of $38,372.65 for 12 months. This contract is for software maintenance systems including record management, mobile, jail, and computer aided dispatch. The cost was about 5% higher than last year.
•Public Health Director Jessica Erickson received approval to apply for the Public Health Infrastructure grant that was discussed at the Community Health Board. It is a two-year grant.
Erickson was given approval to hire an account tech with grant funds. She expects that an account tech lead in her department will be retiring this year. The new hire will be in place during a teaching period and then replace the current account tech lead after retirement.
•Shelly Topness was hired as a paralegal effective February 2.
•A phone stipend was approved for Joshua Lensing, Highway Department, who was hired January 18.
•The Merit system EEO/AA policy was adopted for 2022.
•Commissioner Larry Hindt reported that there will be an Ag Summit on February 24 at Eagle Bluff Learning Center.