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What would you do if it was your building?

Sun, Oct 8th, 2000
Posted in

Monday, October 2, 2000

There must be a maxim out there that says something like "hard chairs make for short meetings."

That's not to say that Tuesday's Fillmore County Board meeting was exceptionally long, because it wasn't. It was however, a chair sampling meeting.

The county is looking to buy ten chairs for the commissioners' board room and each of the five commissioners tested out a dif-ferent chair at the meeting. Commissioner Helen Bicknese's chair was the cheapest at $291; Commissioner Duane Bakke's was the most expensive at $479.

To this idle observer, who was sitting in a green straight back chair circa 1955, they all looked soft and plushy - the kind where you sit with an afghan and a bowl of popcorn on your lap.

The board, ever mindful of cost, opted for the Bicknese model, which was also the low cost bid.

Whether this will lead to lengthy board meetings in the future only time will tell. The board room was recently given a new coat of white paint and, with blue carpet on order, all the board needs is a new table. Maybe next week!

Tuesday's meeting was about more than just chairs, however, as the board dealt with a number of matters.

Early retirement incentive

The board agreed to look more closely at developing an early retirement plan for county employees. The commissioners will study the early retirement policies of other counties, most of which offer some kind of time-limited health insurance provision for eligible employees who take early retirement.

Commissioner Robert Underbakke voiced some concern about the county creating an incentive for employees to retire early while at the same time the county struggles with employee retention.

"We've had problems keeping employees," Underbakke cautioned. "Will this work against us?"

The board will study the matter for a week and revisit the issue at their October 3 meeting.

Asbestos abatement

The board has awarded the contract for asbestos removal on the courthouse elevator project to ASI/LVI Environmental Services of St. Paul for $21,290. The industrial hygiene monitoring during construction was awarded to Angstrom Analytical of Eden Prairie for $4,375.

According to Kane & Johnson architects, during the abatement process, the industrial hygiene firm will be running air sample pumps next to the containment area to ensure that asbestos fibers are not escaping.

Both contractors are licensed to do this work by the Minnesota Department of Health. The project will begin October 23 and take two weeks to complete.

The board approved ambulance agreements with the cities of Harmony, Lanesboro, Mabel, Preston, Rushford, Wykoff, Chatfield and Spring Valley. The county acts as a broker for the state, redistributing Minnesota Emergency Management Service dollars to local ambulance services. Each service received $4,500.

Solid Waste Proposal

The county Solid Waste Committee is reviewing a proposal from Waste Management to take over some of the operations at the Resource Recovery Center. The proposal from Waste Management is the only proposal that the county received during its request for proposal period, which ended September 1.

Waste Management's proposal includes two options for handing transfer and landfill services at the center: one which uses county labor and the other which uses Waste Management employees. The proposal would also do away with composting, reducing recycling to two streams: a fiber stream (paper, cardboard) and commingled stream (aluminum, plastic, tin, glass). Waste Management believes that the two-sort system will result in a cleaner recycling system.

"Satisfaction" meeting

If you read last week's account of the Fillmore County Board meeting, entitled "Can't get no satisfaction", about the county's frustration with some of the work done on the new county office building, you will be pleased to know that the county and TSP sat down last Thursday to iron out their differences. A copy of the agenda notes that the intent of the meeting was "to resolve issues in a face-to-face setting and to dismiss only when a clear path is defined for project completion with all parties agreeing."

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