The future staffing of two positions the county has filled in the past were discussed at the county board’s May 11 meeting.
Blake Lea, feedlot officer/zoning technician/GIS had submitted his resignation effective May 21. The board accepted his resignation with much thanks for his service. Lea had the ability to serve in all three roles. Lea was good in GIS. County Administrator Bobbie Hillery said employees can call Schneider Geospatial for anything GIS related, as the county has a contract with the service.
Commissioner Duane Bakke questioned whether the feedlot/zoning duties can be contracted out to a private entity. Zoning Administrator Cristal Adkins wants it clearly defined who is responsible for the duties. Commissioner Marc Prestby said he had a hard time privatizing everything, noting, “Government is here to serve the public.” Commissioner Mitch Lentz said the county would still be responsible. Prestby noted he didn’t have a problem with feedlot duties being privatized, but did have a problem with the privatization of septic inspections.
A committee (Bakke, Lentz, Adkins, and Hillery) will meet to look at options and then bring back a recommendation at the board’s next meeting on May 25.
The auditor/treasurer was the other position discussed. The discussion that followed was over possible action to close the advertising for the A/T position. Hillery said the varied list of duties of an A/T can be assigned to certain people in the office. Dodge County assigns A/T duties this way. Hillery said they have had five applicants for the position, but the many duties of the A/T that they would be in charge of have little to do with the things they have done in the past. She said they were good candidates for the tax portion of the A/T duties, but the A/T does much more including, but not limited to, elections, deeds, and licenses. She maintained there needs to be checks and balances.
Bakke suggested there still needs to be a manager; at this time they don’t know who would be a good manager among the employees involved with these duties. A motion to close the advertising for the A/T position was approved. Prestby voted no. He said he struggled with the separation of duties; it wouldn’t hurt to continue advertising.
Hillery added that four candidates were to be interviewed the next day for an accounting technician position. They would now look at the possibility of hiring two account technicians if they have strong candidates; one to replace the retiring Sarah Mensink, effective July 1, and the other to add to staff in the absence of an A/T. A motion was approved to hire one additional account technician. Prestby voted no. Bakke suggested they need to wait and see how new staff members fit in before deciding how to structure people in this area.
Other business in brief
•Laura Christenson, SWCD director, gave a presentation on the Root River One Watershed, One Plan. Six counties contribute to the Root River watershed district (Fillmore, Houston, Mower, Winona, Olmsted, and Dodge). All precipitation from portions of these counties which make up the watershed district flows to the Root River. Fillmore County lies entirely in the Root River watershed district.
Watershed planning includes the counties, SWCDs, and watershed districts. The collaboration for land management includes wetland regulations, drainage ordinances, and monitoring. Many more watershed districts have since been developed in the state. The Root River watershed district was one of the first. It is a unique district due to its bluffs, trout streams, caves, karst topography, shallow soils, and disappearing streams. Bakke, who serves on the policy committee, noted funding allocations are driven by project and not by a county’s percent of area in the watershed district. So far, there have been two rounds of two-year implementation funding grants for the watershed district.
•Drew Hatzenbihler, Sanitation, described an agreement with Dynamic Lifecycle Innovation that will save the county 1.5 cents per pound on the recycling of LCD TVs. The agreement for E-waste recycling had been reviewed by the county attorney. There was some question about a language change to include both Wisconsin and Minnesota. The agreement was approved pending county attorney approval of agreement language.
•County Engineer Ron Gregg and maintenance supervisor Brent Kohn discussed the need for fuel tank repairs on the two underground 2,000 gallon tanks. Kohn said he had two quotes. Kohn added the tanks themselves are fiberglass and are okay. Chairman Randy Dahl said he would prefer the two tanks be above ground. He asked that they get quotes for the cost to install two above ground tanks and to see if the current existing pumps and system for the below ground tanks can be retrofitted for above ground tanks. This will be brought back to the next board meeting.
•The second reading of three policies was considered. No additional comments had been made on the policies since the first reading. The three policies (Conferences & Seminars policy, General Provisions policy,