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Board spends time on budget

Sun, Aug 13th, 2000
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Discusses early retirement incentive By John Torgrimson

Monday, August 14, 2000

For the second week in a row, the county board spent most of their time discussing the proposed 2001 budget with various department heads. On Tuesday, the board met with Highway Engineer Steven Voigt, Sandra Junge and Darrel Erickson of the Fillmore County Ag Society, as well as Sheriff Jim Connolly.

The proposed county budget must be completed by September 15, at which time the 2001 tax levy will be set.

In addition to the budget details, the board found time to look at a few matters of a more routine nature. The board received a request from an employee to consider re-instating the early retirement incentive program.

According to county coordinator Karen Brown, the county had an early retirement program back in 1994 where employees could retire early and still receive the county portion of health insurance until they reached 65. To be eligible, Brown said, employees had to be at least age 62 and have worked at the county for 15 years.

Brown said that the program required that the employee submit a retirement request in writing and show that the early retirement would be a savings to the county. The county's early retirement program ended on December 31, 1994.

Brown said that other counties have early retirement programs. She said that Stearns County (St. Cloud) has an early retirement program where insurance payments are pro-rated by years of experience and cannot be paid out for more than five years.

Commissioner Donald Boyum suggested using unpaid sick leave at the time of retirement to buy health insurance. He said that other counties are doing similar things.

While no commissioner was opposed to the concept of an early retirement program, they were against responding to a request from one individual.

"I think we need more information," commissioner Duane Bakke suggested. "We don't want to be setting things up for one individual."

The commissioners asked Brown to gather more information and report back to the board.

Zoning. Zoning Administrator Norm Craig requested that the board refund a deposit of $50,000 to Meyer Subdivision which is being developed east of Chatfield. The deposit is held to insure that infrastructural development that is required for a subdivision are met. Craig said that the developer has met all of the county's requirements as the wells, utilities, electricity, telephone and landscaping have been completed. The board approved refunding the deposit.

On another zoning matter, Craig recommended that the board not grant an access permit to Don Hrstka to build a road access to a pasture off of County Road #2. Craig said that he and the county engineer felt that the access was not necessary as there were already two driveways to the property.

Craig said that Hrstka wanted to add the access as he had plans to build a house on that site in the future and wanted to take advantage of contractors who are presently working in the area.

Commissioner Helen Bicknese asked that the board table any decision until she had a chance to meet with Hrstka, whose property is located in her district.

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