Date: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 9:30 a.m.
Place: Commissioners Room, Courthouse, Caledonia, MN
*Virtual Meeting Held due to Peacetime Emergency Declaration in response to COVID-19 Pandemic.
Members Present via Computer: Eric Johnson, Teresa Walter, Jack Miller, Robert Burns, and Greg Myhre
Call to order: 9:31 am
Presiding: Chairman Johnson
Call to order. Pledge of Allegiance.
Walter moved, Myhre seconded, unanimously carried to approve the agenda.
Walter moved, Myhre seconded, unanimously carried to approve the September 8, 2020 Board Meeting minutes.
Walter moved, Myhre seconded, unanimously carried to approve the September 15, 2020 Board Meeting and Workgroup Session minutes.
Public Comment: None
Public Health and Human Services provided an update on the COVID-119 Pandemic and the increase in cases in the County and region. Although the region’s increase has occurred mostly in the college age range, our local increases are not confined to that age range.
Burns moved, Walter seconded, unanimously carried to approve the Consent Agenda, which consisted of the following items:
1)Approve payment of the License Center and Human Services disbursements and the following claims
County Revenue Fund$118,765.32
Road & Bridge Fund $18,601.96
2)Affirm the following personnel actions:
1.Hire Amy Jeannie Feldmeier as a casual/temporary employee (67 days) at a wage of $13.68/hr to support 2020 election activity.
2.Public Health and Human Services
1.Change the status of Social Worker Alexie Krause from probationary to regular effective September 23, 2020.
1.Change the status of Jailer/Dispatcher William Gavin from probationary to regular effective September 30, 2020.
Burns moved, Myhre seconded, unanimously carried to accept the low bid of Minnowa Construction, in the amount of $89,394.20 for SAP 28-599-092 for Bridge Replacement on Eitzen Creek Drive in Winnebago Township.
Burns moved, Walter seconded, unanimously carried to approve to Resolution 20-45 Final Acceptance of Contract CP 2020-01(A) Bruning Rock Products, Inc. Contract 302 is completed at a total cost of $130,152.09.
RESOLUTION NO. 20-45
WHEREAS, Project CP 2020-01 (A) has in all things been completed, and the County Board being fully advised in the premises;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Houston County Board of Commissioners, accepts said completed project for and on behalf of the Houston County DOT and authorize final payment.
Walter moved, Myhre seconded, unanimously carried to the Community Support Program (CSP) Grant agreement with the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Burns moved, Miller seconded, with the motion failing 2-3 (nay from Johnson, Walter, Myhre) to reappoint Cindy Cresswell as County Assessor for a subsequent 4 year term. Administrator Babinski recommended the Board reappoint Assessor Cresswell for a four-year term, required under MS Statute 263.071 at the completion of her first term. Walter expressed concern with past communication issues with the Assessor’s office and property owners and the City of La Crescent during their last Local Board of Equalization meetings. Assessor Cresswell responded with a reminder of her past requests for additional staff help, which came after the specific incidents mentioned. Following the vote, Burns expressed concern for how to proceed, given shortages in the Assessor position in neighboring counties. He also expressed support for Assessor Cresswell, given the work accomplished while short-handed and under the demand of the State to correct issues caused by previous staff. Johnson expressed this action “isn’t a termination” and tabled further discussion until another meeting.
Miller moved, Walter seconded, unanimously carried to approve an updated procurement policy for Federal Grants.
Burns moved, Myhre seconded, motion carried (4-1, Miller opposed) to approve Resolution 20-46 2021 Preliminary Levy with a 3% increase over the 2020 budget. Administrator Babinski and Finance Director Lapham shared the latest budget plan, which called for a 2.5% budget increase, but did not take into account the unsettled negotiations with the seven labor union groups. They proposed a couple of possible additional budget cuts and expense shifts to capital improvement funds, but proposed a preliminary 3% to allow for the uncertainty of the unsettled union agreements. Miller asked what else could be done to decrease the budget by 3% and if furloughs should be considered if the settlements push expenses over the preliminary budget.
BE IT RESOLVED, that the proposed levy after the deduction of County Program Aid (CPA), in the amount of $12,845,561 be made on all taxable property in the County of Houston for taxes payable in 2021 in the following amounts by County Fund:
County Revenue $ 8,480,501
Road & Bridge 2,240,277
Human Services 1,850,212
Bond Fund – 2017A Jail Bonds 497,123
Bond Fund – 2020A Jail Bonds 865,725
Less CPA (1,088,277)
Total Levy $12,845,561
Walter moved, Johnson seconded, unanimously carried to approve Resolution 20-47 2021 Preliminary Budget.
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of the County Commissioners, Houston County, Minnesota adopts the proposed budget for 2021 for Revenue and Expenditures within the following funds:
Road & Bridge 9,624,413 9,624,413 0
Human Services 6,830,829 6,830,829 0
Debt Service 1,362,848 1,362,848 0
Grand Total$29,718,598 $29,618,802$99,796
Burns moved, Walter seconded, unanimously carried to approve Resolution 20-48 Authorization to Establish Absentee Ballot Board and UOCAVA Ballot Board for 2020 General Election.
RESOLUTION NO. 20-48
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Houston County Board of Commissioners, hereby authorizes the establishment of an Absentee Ballot Board and a UOCAVA Absentee Ballot Board under Chapter 203B.121, Subd 1 of 2017 Minnesota Statutes, pertaining to Ballot Boards; and
BE IT RESOLVED, that these Boards will meet on an as needed basis as determined by the Houston County Auditor-Treasurer during the 46 calendar days prior to each election; and
BE IT RESOLVED, that a minimum of any two people from different major parties can constitute a quorum for a meeting; and
BE IT RESOLVED, that these boards will Accept or Reject absentee ballots and process ballots throughout the Absentee voting period, and
BE IT RESOLVED, that these board will follow all statutory requirements enacted by the Minnesota Legislature and count the absentee ballots after the polls close rather than deliver absentee ballots to the polling sites;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Houston County Board of Commissioners approves the establishment of an Absentee Ballot Board and a UOCAVA Absentee Ballot Board and appoints the following election officials to these boards for the November 3, 2020 General Election: Donna Trehus, Polly Heberlein, Mary Gulbranson, Diane Imhoff, Amy Sylling, Annette Christian, Jeanne Feldmeier, Nikki Konkel, Julie Schleich.
File No. 11 – Burns moved, Myhre seconded, unanimously carried to authorize $250,000 of the federal CARES Act funds for the purchase of IT equipment necessary to improve access to remote working.
Commissioners Walter discussed news from recent participation in AMC Policy Committee meetings, with discussion on out-of-home placement increases and funding for mental health issues. She also shared that she had spoken at the La Crescent Montessori school, providing insight to the students on the role of a County and functions of County government.
Burns discussed his AMC Policy Committee meetings, with the Transportation Committee focused on replacing lost gas tax revenue and rules around wetlands. He also recommended the County consider specific CARES Act contributions to Hiawatha Valley, SEMCAC, SEMCHRA, and WDI.
Miller also addressed his AMC Policy Committee meetings, with the Public Health and Human Services Committee focused on the continuation of operational waivers spurred by the pandemic response period, funding for mental health and opioid abuse, and salary increase for DAC.
Myhre shared that he attended the AMC general government policy meeting. He said during introductions that counties shared their preliminary levy increases, which ranged from 1-7%.
Johnson attended the AMC Natural Resources Policy group meetings. Their priorities with budget cuts in mind were focused on solid waste energy site MPCA guidelines, ditches, and watershed districts.
There being no further business and the time being 11:32 a.m., motion was made by Miller, seconded by Myhre, unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting. The next advertised meeting being a Board Workgroup Session on Tuesday, September 15, 2020.
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
HOUSTON COUNTY, MINNESOTA
By: Eric Johnson, Chairperson
Attest: Jeffrey Babinski, County Administrator