"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Lighter than air...

Fri, May 18th, 2001
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Monday, May 21, 2001

The County Board of Commissioners whisked through a very light agenda at last Tuesday’s meeting. Reports on Social Services and Corrections consumed most of a morning meeting that was even slim on administrative items.

Social Services

The Director of Social Services, Tom Boyd, was the first speaker on the agenda. Boyd presented the Board with a verbal report of the mental health services that are provided in Fillmore County.

Boyd’s office administers a wide range of mental health programs that are funded with federal and state assistance. Fillmore County also incurs some costs related to providing the state-mandated programs for the mentally disabled.

Boyd provided the commissioners with information published by the National Institute of Mental Health that recognizes May as Mental Health Month. According to the handout, 54 million Americans have a mental disorder in any given year.

Accompanying Mr. Boyd was Alice Adamson of the Zumbro Valley Mental Health Center. Ms. Adamson’s office in downtown Preston administers a Community Support Program that provides services designed to meet the emotional, physical and social needs of adults with serious mental illness.

The services at the Zumbro Valley office include outpatient therapy, crisis management and living and coping skills education.


The commissioners also received a presentation by Andy Erickson, Interim Director of Dodge-Fillmore-Olmsted Community Corrections. More commonly known as DFO, the predominantly State funded program provides probation services for the three-county partnership.

The Commissioners have been discussing whether Fillmore County should remain a part of the DFO. The County would continue to receive state funding should it decide not to remain a part of the DFO Community Corrections.

Fillmore County has its own Community Corrections Task Force comprised of the County Attorney Matt Opat, Commissioners Marc Prestby and Harry Root, and several law enforcement and social services staff.

On May 7, the commissioners received a letter from the Chair of the Task Force, Lois Hackbarth, documenting the Task Force recommendation that Fillmore County continue to remain with DFO "as long as adequate funding is obtained to keep the current programs in place."

Andy Erickson’s report to the board indicated that the bulk of the funding for community corrections aid is tied up in the Governor-vetoed Health & Human Services bill. The outcome of this bill should be decided by the legislature this week.

Commissioner briefs

In other administrative business, the board awarded the bid for the construction of the new courthouse elevator to Schoeppner, Inc. The project engineers, Kane and Johnson Architects, Inc., recommended the low bid award in the amount of $193,000.

The construction of the elevator will require an upgrade of the electrical cable that supplies the courthouse building with power. The City of Preston Utilities has agreed to pay for $5,000 of the projected $7,500 cost, asking the county to pay the remaining $2,500. Commissioner Randy Dahl has expressed dissatisfaction with Preston’s policy on the charges, and this discontent has prompted board Chair Helen Bicknese to request that Preston officials come before the board to explain the charges.

The County Board also approved the law enforcement workers’ contract based on the settlement reached a few weeks ago with the union. The agreement contains pay and benefit increases of 6%, 4.8% and 4.6% over the next three years.

The Commissioners also held a public hearing on the changes to the Solid Waste Ordinance, but no one showed up to comment. The changes were approved on a motion by Commissioner Duane Bakke that was seconded by Commissioner Prestby.

The agenda for the upcoming commissioner meeting on Tuesday will include a discussion of the county’s facilities at 11:00 A.M. On Thursday, May 24, the board will interview the two candidates for the open County Engineer position.

By Mike McGrath

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