At the February 14 Fillmore County Board meeting, the public was given the opportunity to comment on the extension of the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST).
County Engineer Ron Gregg explained the half cent tax was enacted in 2014. The revenue collected was intended to be used to help fund 131 miles of county roads that are strictly funded with local tax levy dollars. The program actually started in January 2016 and is scheduled to end in 2024. This public hearing is required to extend the tax to 2025 as there will continue to be a need in 2025 and beyond.
The purpose of this hearing is to extend the tax and to allow revenue collected to be spent on all road projects listed in the Fillmore Capital Improvement Plan for years 2021 through 2025.
Unfortunately, Fillmore County will be receiving 4% less in the County State Aid allocation. Also, the construction cost index is up 8%. State funding in Minnesota has failed to keep pace with infrastructure needs in the county. The revenue raised from this half cent sales tax will help the county to stay on track in its effort to keep roads and bridges safe.
Bonita Underbakke made the only comment from the public. A resolution was approved to extend the program allowing the proceeds from the tax to be used for projects listed in the Fillmore County Capital Improvement Plan for 2025.
A representative from BKV Group briefly updated the board on the jail project. Construction documents will be completed and issued on February 21. Advertisements for bids will run for three weeks. Bids will be opened on March 23. Bids will be considered by the county board at its April 4 meeting. The base project will be bid along with nine alternative projects. Some of the alternative projects include window replacement and exterior upgrades to the existing building. The representative said they will try to get as much local involvement as possible in the bidding process.
Each year employees are recognized for their years of service at five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 year increments. Dale Brand, Leroy Eickoff, and Terry Schultz have been with the county for 25 years, Todd Kokinos for 30 years, and Kristi Ruesink for 35 years.
Wellness awards were given. Jessica Holst received the gold award, Sharon Miller the silver award, and Ryan Welscher the bronze award.
Chris Larson received the 2022 Safety Award.
Other business in brief
•The only bid submitted by Dunn Blacktop in the amount of $904,669.42 for the reconditioning project on CR 112 was approved. The engineer’s estimate for this project was $942,000.20.
•The only bid submitted by Astech Corporation in the amount of $1,127,274.69 for the 2023 microsurfacing program (about 18 miles) was approved. The engineer’s estimate was $1,102,616.
•The board approved a project bid subject to the approval of the city of Spring Valley awarding the contract for the reconstruction of CSAH 8 within the city of Spring Valley. The county’s portion of the project is estimated to cost about $950,000.
•A three-year contract with Law Enforcement Labor Services, Inc. (LELS) was approved.
•The transfer of Brooke Harmening, finance accounting technician, to sheriff’s department accounting technician, effective February 17, was approved. Approval was then granted to hire from a list for the replacement of the Finance accounting technician.
•One-time additional pay for Brooke Harmening ($260) and Christy Smith ($390) was approved for additional duties performed.
•Brooke Johnson was hired as a part-time jailer effective February 17.
•The county board next meets on February 28.