Twelve Houston County employees were recognized for their years of service to the county at the county’s December 26 commission meeting. Thirty-five-year awards to David J. Bauer and Mary A. Zaffke; 30-year award to Julie A. Renk; 25-year award to Holly S. Felten; 20-year awards to Christopher C. Tuveson and Julie K. Von Arx-Abnet; 15-year awards to Anthony T. Dockter, William L. Hargrove and Brian K. Pogodzinski; and 10-year awards to Erin E. Cognac, Kirby K. Fitzpatrick and Michelle L. Herman.
Chairman Dewey Severson call the regularly scheduled meeting to order at 9 a.m. He led his fellow commissioners and the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.
All board members were in attendance: Chairman Dewey Severson, Eric Johnson, Robert (Bob) Burns, Bob Schuldt and Greg Myhre.
The meeting agenda was approved with one addition to the list of action items. The minutes from the December 19 commission meeting were approved with one correction/addition.
Four to one, the commissioners set the 2024 levy at 3.5%. The total net levy is $13,592,634 with a budget deficit of $510,362. The 50% threshold in the undesignated fund will still be maintained.
The 2024 Wildcat Manager contract will be offered first to Amber Miller and Steve Goetzinger, Fireside Management LLC. Miller/Goetzinger managed the park in 2023. If they turn the offer down, the county will advertise a Request for Proposal (RFP) to manage Wildcat Park in 2024. Commissioners stated that they did not receive any complaints about the way Miller and Goetzinger managed the park. The online reservation system was not implemented as required in the contract last year. In 2024, the county will oversee the implementation of the online reservation system, Firefly Reservations, and the park manager(s) will manage the system.
Finance Director Carol Lapham presented the 2023 budget amendments. According to the staff report, the amendments will “accurately reflect various revenues and expenditures and fund balance usage of the County Recorder’s technology fund and the compliance fund and amendments to the road and bridge 2023 budget.” The amendments were unanimously approved.
As is done every year, the commissioners approved designating the county revenue, road and bridge, and Public Health and Human Services as 2024 major funds and debt service and capital projects as 2024 minor funds.
The commissioners approved the vacation and sick leave request as presented, “vacation and sick leave carryover in excess of defined limits for the non-represented positions until the personnel policy is reviewed and updated. There is currently inequity between the non-represented positions and their represented counterparts. This affects the Finance Director, IT Director, HR Director, Assistant County Attorney, and Nurses.” Finance Director Carol Lapham confirmed that there is not a “financial impact to the 2024 budget.” Personnel Director Tess Kruger stated that if there was a financial impact, it would be minimal.
Commissioner Burns reported that the three cars purchased for the Public Health Department have been delivered and are “very nice.” Burns also reported that he attended Caledonia’s special meeting last week regarding the property assessments for the Grove Marshall Street project. The council kept the interest rate at 1% and lowered the assessment a second time to 10% from 25%.
In other business the board:
• Approved the 2024 operating budget.
• Adjourned the meeting at 10:07 a.m.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Houston County Commission is Tuesday, January 2, 2024, at 9 a.m. in the County Commission Board Room 222, located on the second floor in the historic county courthouse, Caledonia, or via the county conference call line (312) 626-6700 enter ID: 994-7297-7175 and password 368422. Public attendees are requested to mute their line until addressed.