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An idea whose time has come

Sun, Jul 2nd, 2000
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Board sets up facilities committeeBy John TorgrimsonMonday, July 3, 2000

A few months ago, Commissioner Donald Boyum proposed setting up a citizen's committee to advise the county board on what should be done about remodelling the courthouse.

"I think we have a lot of knowledgeable people in the county who could direct us and help us," Boyum told his colleagues at the March 21 county board meeting.

According to the following week's Journal, Boyum's idea was met with little support at the time. Commissioner Gary Peterson was reported to have said that "citizen's committees were fine for long range plans but, for something specific, he thought an architect was the appropriate choice."

Well, fill up your cup of coffee because it's time for some long-range planning.

On Tuesday, Commissioner Peterson proposed setting up a Facilities Evaluation and Planning Committee.

"This would be a chance to get the public involved on what should be done about our county facilities," Peterson said. "We need to look at our county shops, law enforcement and how to update the courthouse to provide the space we need for services."

Peterson suggested that each commissioner name one rural and one urban member to the committee. With the five commissioners, the group would consist of fifteen members.

There was discussion about the role commissioners would play on the committee. County Attorney Matt Opat voiced some concerns about more than two commissioners being at a meeting at the same time, as it required public notice.

"I have concerns anytime a governing body puts itself on a committee," Opat said.

Commissioner Duane Bakke seemed to agree, but for different reasons. "You could have a situation where there is a 11-4 recommendation from the committee, but when it comes time to vote you have commissioners opposed 4-1," Bakke said.

But Peterson argued that all commissioners should be on the committee, as that would ensure that they are part of discussions about issues affecting their districts.

But Opat countered with the fact that the commissioner would have chosen the people to be on the committee.

In the end, the board agreed that the commissioners would sit as non-voting members on the committee. The group would also comply with the open-meeting law, which requires public notification of meetings.

Each board member was requested to name their appointees to the committee when the county board meets again in two weeks. The committee is expected to be in place for about one year.
Privatizing county solid waste

The county board au-thorized sending out Request for Proposals (RFP) to private contractors to take over the four principle Resource Recovery Center (RRC) operations, including composting, recycling, solid waste and transfer station management. A proposal could include leasing, operating, managing, transporting and processing, or a combination of all of these options.

"Right now everything is wide open," RRC manager Jon Martin told the county board. "We're looking for ideas on how this can work."

The RFP process is another move by the county to privatize solid waste operations. A few weeks ago, the county notified four cities that it was terminating their waste delivery agreements effective August 6.

The Solid Waste Committee hopes to review proposals from private contractors in September and make recommendations to the full board by October.

Public Health Grants The Fillmore County Public Health department has received a grant from the Tobacco Endowment to be used for high-risk behavior in youth. Public Health Director Sharon Serfling told the board that the $11,457 grant will be used to address behavior, other than tobacco use, by adolescents.

"It can be used to deal with such things as teen pregnancy or drug use, Serfling said. "But it can't be used to address tobacco use."

According to Serfling, the county has also has been awarded $19,900 as part of the regional tobacco grant. This money will focus on tobacco use among adolescents 12-18. She also said that public health as received a third grant of $7,030 to expand the home visiting program.

The Fillmore County Board will not meet during the week of July 3'rd.

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