Date: October 3, 2023 9:00 a.m.
Place: Commissioners Room, Courthouse, Caledonia, MN
Members Present: Dewey Severson, Eric Johnson, Robert Burns, Bob Schuldt, and Greg Myhre
Presiding: Chairperson Severson
Call to order.
Pledge of Allegiance.
Motion was made by Commissioner Johnson, seconded by Commissioner Burns, motion unanimously carried to approve the agenda.
Motion was made by Commissioner Burns, seconded by Commissioner Johnson, motion unanimously carried to approve the meeting minutes from September 26, 2023.
Rose Korabek introduced herself as the new editor at the Caledonia Argus.
At 9:10 a.m. a public hearing was held pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 394.26, to consider adopting a No Wake Zone by ordinance. Motion by Commissioner Johnson, seconded by Commissioner Myhre, motion unanimously carried to have the public hearing. The proposed ordinance would regulate boats in the Mississippi River commencing at the “West Channel Bridge” and concluding at the main channel entrance for the west backwater channel near River Mile 699, within the boundaries of Houston County, Minnesota. If approved the ordinance would enact a “One-Hundred (100) Foot No-Wake” ordinance. Environmental Services Director Herrick said the County had received a quote for no wake bouys that totaled $3,664.32. No public comments were made during the public hearing. A motion was made by Commissioner Johnson, seconded by Commissioner Burns to return to the regular board meeting.
Motion by Commissioner Myhre, seconded by Commissioner Schuldt, motion unanimously carried to approve the consent agenda.
1) Hire Patricia Goetzinger Krall as a Casual Employee, Sheriff’s Office Transport Officer at an hourly wage of $18.53.
2) Change the employment status of Deputy Sheriff, Lucas Inglett, from probationary to regular, effective 10/10/2023.
File No. 1 – Commissioners discussed with Human Resources Director Theresa Arrick-Kruger, Public Health and Human Services Director Pugleasa, and Financial Assistance Super-visor Kohlmeyer initiating a competitive search for a 1.0 FTE Case Aide B22. The item had been tabled from the previous meeting. Kruger said nothing had changed in the needs of the department. The opening was to fill a vacancy that had been created by an employee moving to another position. Kohlmeyer said the person would be located at the front desk and would support all of Human Services. Commissioner Burns moved, Commissioner Severson seconded, motion carried three to two to approve initiating a competitive search for a 1.0 FTE Case Aide B22. Commissioners Severson, Burns, and Schuldt voted yes. Commissioners Johnson and Myhre voted no.
File No. 2 – Commissioners discussed the possibility of an investigation relating to a public comment made at the September 26, 2023, Board meeting. Commissioner Myhre said he thought an investigation should be done. Commissioner Johnson said they had received an official complaint. Commissioner Schuldt asked if the County had an official complaint form. Human Resources Director Kruger said the County did not have an official complaint form that she was aware of. Kruger said the comments were made about a request for proposal (RFP) and not the hiring of an employee. Kruger said employee hiring complaints would come to her. Commissioner Schuldt said it seemed to him that they were making a complaint. Commissioner Johnson said someone from outside the County should be hired to conduct an investigation of the process. He said he did not think it was the County’s “finest hour.” He said maybe nothing had been done wrong, or maybe there were things the County could improve upon. Commissioner Schuldt said typically such matters would go to an outside agency. Neutral agencies such as Winona County and Fillmore County were mentioned. Commissioner Burns said “in her opinion the process was not done properly.” Commissioner Severson said the timing of the complaint was unusual. Commissioner Burns asked why it had taken so long for the complaint to come forward. Commissioner Myhre said he knew what he thought had happened as he had been a part of the process. He said he wanted an investigation to confirm his thoughts. Commissioner Myhre moved, Commissioner Johnson seconded, motion carried to hire an outside agency to conduct an investigation relating to a public comment made at the September 26, 2023, Board meeting. The Commissioners voted by roll. Commissioner Severson abstained. Commissioners Johnson, Schuldt, and Myhre voted yes. Commissioner Burns voted no. Commissioners Johnson and Schuldt would work together to find an outside agency to conduct the investigation.
File No. 3 – Commissioners discussed the possibility of adopting an ordinance for a No Wake Zone near the West Channel of the Mississippi River. Commissioner Johnson asked if the ordinance could be enforced. Environmental Services Director Herrick said he believed it could be enforced based on feedback from Attorney Jandt. Commissioners Johnson and Schuldt questioned the no wake zone being only 100 feet from the shore. Herrick said the 100 feet was a compromise. Commissioner Schuldt asked if the concern was the wake or the speed of the boats. Commissioner Severson said he believed speed was the concern. He said docks were damaged from the wake. Commissioner Schuldt said as a boater you would make less of a wake at a faster speed. He said the no wake zone could actually make the wake worse. Commissioner Schuldt asked if a no wake zone was also going to be put in place near Brownsville. Commissioner Schuldt said Bullhead Bay south of Wildcat was not a no wake zone, however boat house owners put out their own no wake zone signs and he said most people abided by them. Schuldt said although the no wake was not enforceable, most people did slow down for the signs. Commissioner Schuldt also mentioned areas near Lawrence Lake and the Harbor Lights addition. Commissioner Schuldt said he did not want to see anyone get hurt, but that the waves would still be the same size. He also said the County was looking at budgets and he questioned how much the bouys would cost the next year. Commissioner Burns said the people of Shore Acres had asked for the no wake zone. Commissioner Burns said he understood what Schuldt was saying about big boats. Commissioner Burns said he did not think many big boats went through the area. Commissioner Burns said it was a safety issue for those who lived there. Commissioner Myhre said people should have known when they built their homes there. Commissioner Johnson said while he understood the public safety concerns his issue was that it was not the whole river and only the 100 feet. He said cost was a factor as well. Commissioner Schuldt said 100 feet was not that long of a distance. Commissioner Schuldt questioned if the homeowners had put out bouys themselves. He said 100 feet would not make a difference. Commissioner Burns moved, Commissioner Severson seconded, motion failed three to two to adopt an ordinance for No Wake Zone near the West Channel of the Mississippi River. Commissioners Burns and Severson voted yes. Commissioners Johnson, Schuldt, and Myhre voted no.
Commissioners discussed recent meetings they had attended and upcoming meetings including a Joint Board of Health, SELCO, Hiawatha Valley Mental Health, Merchant’s Bank, and upcoming EDA and District 9 meeting.
Commissioner Schuldt said the City of La Crescent was looking into a safe school route and the possibility of changing speed limits in the City. Engineer Pogodzinski said he was working with the City and County Sheriff’s office to get some crash history along the proposed route.
Commissioner Johnson said one thing he had learned from the Joint Board of Health Meeting was that Fillmore County was farther along than Houston County when it came to putting ordinances in place relating to cannabis. Public Health and Human Services Director John Pugleasa said he thought that was because Fillmore County was currently focusing on regulations relating to the 2022 edible legislation. He said he thought Houston County was planning to focus on the 2023 legislation going forward. Pugleasa said Houston County did have an upcoming public hearing that would be focusing on a public use ordinance. Pugleasa suggested a study committee be put in place to help position the County to respond to what the State was doing with the 2023 legislation. Commissioner Johnson said AMC had sample cannabis ordinances that could be looked at, and said a study committee could be formed in the future. Pugleasa said he would connect with Environmental Services Director Herrick and Attorney Jandt to prepare something for a future agenda.
There being no further business at 10:28 a.m. a motion was made by Commissioner Myhre, seconded by Commissioner Johnson motion unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting.
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS HOUSTON COUNTY, MINNESOTA
By: Dewey Severson, Chairperson
Attest: Polly Heberlein, Interim Auditor/Treasurer
THE ABOVE PROCEEDINGS OF THE HOUSTON COUNTY BOARD OF COMISSIONERS IS ONLY A SUMMARY. THE FULL TEXT IS AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC INSPECTON AT THE HISTORIC HOUSTON COUNTY BUILDING AS WELL AS AT THE FOLLOWING WEB ADDRESS: https://www.co.houston.mn.us/.
Date: October 3, 2023 9:00 a.m.