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County Board to review community services structure


Fri, Sep 27th, 2013
Posted in All Government

By Karen Reisner

With the request to retire of social services manager Gail Bunge, the county board will review how the redesign structure implemented a few years back is working. Gail Bunge’s request to retire effective January 2, 2013 was approved at the board’s September 24 meeting with thanks for her 33 years of service to the county.

Bunge called it a true honor to serve in public service and thanked the board and staff that she has worked with over the years.

County coordinator Karen Brown said Bunge invented her position and working on the budget is a huge part of that position. The social services manager position is under the umbrella of Community Services as is the veterans service officer and the director of nursing. Beth Wilms is serving as a shared community services director with Winona County.

Chairman Randy Dahl and commissioner Chuck Amunrud expressed their satisfaction with the new structure or redesign and the collaboration with Winona County. Amunrud said he thinks it is working very well.

During the discussion regarding the replacement of social services manager Bunge, Commissioner Tom Kaase noted they just got news of the resignation request on Friday. He stated he was not ready to just automatically replace her, even recognizing the importance of the position. Wilms suggested it is a good time to review the structure, asking whether it is the best structure for Fillmore and Winona Counties. She encouraged a dialogue with Winona County, adding they should consider all the options available.

Dahl remarked that he is personally committed to the joint entity of social services, veterans, and public health, adding the question is whether we go to our own director or stay with a shared director. He continued saying that he didn’t want to take apart what we have and maintained we don’t have the finances for a full time director.

No action was taken. More information will be gathered before the next meeting, including from Winona County.

Commissioner Duane Bakke reminded Wilms that the board is asking department heads to find more grants and/or cuts for the budget. Wilms said it will come down to prioritizing what we can and can’t do.

Other Business In Brief

•An amendment to the Fillmore County Zoning Ordinance Section 737, Farm Winery, was approved. There was a public hearing at the Planning Commission on Section 737, after which it was recommended for approval. The Farm Winery will be a conditional use in the Ag District. Restaurants are not allowed.

Zoning Administrator Chris Graves noted that anyone who bottles and sells 200 gallons or more per year needs a liquor license. Producing, bottling and selling wine is an Ag related business. Weddings and wine tasting events will be allowed, along with the selling of wine related items. Parking for events will be on the owner’s property. Graves noted that special event permits in other counties come from the Sheriff or the Highway Department.

A conditional use permit will be issued to Aaron and Toni Kolling, Section 19, Spring Valley Township for a 10 KW wind tower as recommended by the Planning Commission.

•Director of Nursing Lantha Stevens said there were three pieces of equipment that were recommended to be purchased during the annual evaluation by the state for the WIC program. The cost of $811 for the equipment will be paid for with grant funds. The equipment is mostly for measuring and weighing infants. The purchases were approved.

•A grant agreement and acceptance of the grant award for Adoption and Foster Care Recruitment were approved. Bunge explained that the recruitment of relatives for foster care is the first consideration. The grant amount is $2,784.

•The resignation effective October 3, 2013 of Kevin Kullot, PC/Network Technician, was accepted with thanks. Karen Brown said this department has been downsized and Kullot’s position supports the systems administrator Jeff Cooper. Kullot has been the ‘go to’ person for users. She requested they advertise for his replacement. Sheriff Daryl Jensen noted the pressure on the IT staff, adding the resignation will dump an overwhelming load on Jeff Cooper.

Amunrud said they need to fill this position and review the tech needs. Dahl maintained that with the budget limitations, he couldn’t see an extra hire coming. Kaase wanted them to look into it more before advertising for a replacement. He suggested looking into the possibility of getting interns from computer tech schools. It was noted that internships have to be primarily educational.

•A replacement custodian, Dale Egge, was hired effective October 11.

•The low quote of $840 was approved for the state required annual elevator inspection. Bakke asked that a note be made to discuss this with the legislators. Terry Schultz, Building Maintenance, said the elevator is hardly used.

•David Kiehne, county recorder, said that given the fact of the county’s budget crunching, his salary request for 2014 would be a 1.5 percent increase, about $900.

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