The Houston County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on November 1, at the historic courthouse in downtown Caledonia.
Chairman Greg Myhre promptly called the meeting to order at 9 a.m. He led commissioners and guests in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioners in attendance include Chairman Myhre, Teresa Walter, Robert (Bob) Burns, Eric Johnson, and Dewey Severson.
The commissioners unanimously approved the meeting’s agenda and the board minutes from the regularly scheduled October 25 board meeting.
Chairman Myhre noted no public comments, with Commissioner Severson adding, “It is pretty quiet.”
At 9:15 a.m., the commission went into closed session pursuant to Minnesota Statue 13D.05, subdivision 1(d), attorney-client privilege regarding pending litigation concerning the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) recent no-wake zone decision. The board returned to open session at 9:49 a.m. Houston County Attorney Samuel Jandt summarized the results of the closed session, “Discussed pending litigation regarding DNR, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and Houston County regarding their recent denial of a post-ordinance regarding a no-wake zone.”
Motion by Commissioner Johnson and seconded by Walter to cease the action of Jay Squire to pursue this matter with the DNR and Court of Appeals. Motion carried 4:1 with Commissioner Severson the lone “no” vote. Johnson said he feels the matter should be addressed internally, whether it is different language or a joint venture to get something accomplished.
The board approved Resolution No. 22-54 as submitted by County Engineer Brian Pogodzinski. The resolution is the final acceptance for SAP 028-592-006, contract #403, with Bruening Rock Products Inc. In an email to the board, Pogodzinski explained that the township has approved it and that it is for the rock added to South Ridge Road. The total project cost is $159,409.64 with the final payment being $7,970.48.
In other business, the board:
•Approved hiring Mark Bennett to fill the position of deputy auditor/treasurer upon the successful completion of a background check, effective November 14.
•Approved the change in employment status of Highway Maintenance Specialist Ryly Patterson from probationary to regular, effective November 15.
•Approved HRD/Facilities Manager Tess Kruger’s request to begin a search for a full-time RN or PHN for the Home & Community Based Services department.
•Approved the change in employment status of Lead Jailer/Dispatcher/Programmer Amy Gehrke from probationary to regular, effective November 3, 2022.
Commissioners received an updated quote from Collaborative Design Group for the space utilization study. The revised fees are $61,710.00 for the three county-used facilities – the historic courthouse, the community services building (formerly known as the Meyer Building) and the Justice Center; the historic jail is an additional $1,420.00. Commissioner Johnson asked his fellow commissioners where we would get the additional funds since only $50,000.00 from COVID funds had been allocated to the study. Since this item was not on the agenda as an action item, the board could not take any action. However, it will be on next week’s agenda as an action item.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:09 a.m.
The next regularly scheduled Houston County Commission meeting is Tuesday, November 8, 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.