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County hires social services manager


Fri, Dec 6th, 2013
Posted in All Government

The new county coordinator Bobbie Jo Vickerman on her first day working for the county was seated next to retiring county coordinator Karen Brown at the board’s December 3 meeting. Brown’s retirement is effective December 31. The four week overlap will help yield a smoother transition.

Kristina Kohn, Human Resources, announced that the hiring committee has recommended hiring Neva Beier to replace retiring Social Services Manager Gail Bunge. The board approved the hire of Beier effective December 30. Kohn noted that Beier is a resident of Fillmore County and has excellent skills. She will have a higher starting wage to help minimize the difference between her wage as a supervisor and the wages of some of the long time employees she will have the responsibility of supervising.

2014 Fillmore County

budget and levy

Karen Brown explained the county’s budget for 2014 shows a spike of 11.3 percent. The difference is mostly due an increase of about $1.3 million in the highway budget for construction and equipment replacement and the Greenleafton Community Septic project. The Greenleafton project has no impact on the Fillmore County levy. The 2014 budget of $25,464,025 was approved.

The 2014 levy totaling $8,435,205 was approved which represents a 0 percent increase from 2013. Brown noted that even under state mandated levy limits the board could have levied up to an additional $258,000 as a special levy, but they chose not to.

SSTS ordinance

The board approved the proposed Fillmore County Sub-Surface Sewage Treatment Ordinance and repealed Section 705 (Private Sewer Systems). At the Planning Commission’s November 21 meeting, after discussing the new ordinance during a public hearing, the commission recommended final approval of the ordinance.

Zoning Administrator Chris Graves explained that the state wants uniform ordinances for septic systems. He said the MPCA looked at the county’s proposal in 2010. The biggest differences from the state’s proposed rules include a requirement to fix non-compliant systems within 12 months rather than 18 months, allowing the zoning office to track them better. The second major difference is section 502 which allows for an alternate standard for septic systems for the Amish population. Smaller systems are to be allowed for Amish homes where there is limited water usage and no indoor toilet facility.

The smaller gray water systems will be allowed for Amish homes in listed townships mostly in the southeast portion of the county. These systems will not be allowed for non-Amish cabins. Graves said a small holding tank is allowable for cabins.

Commissioner Duane Bakke stated that these were state rules that we have to adopt. He reviewed some of what the Planning Commission discussed about ‘staying on the safe side’ and putting in more mound systems than he felt was necessary. He added the zoning staff will look for an alternate location when possible to allow for the installation of the less costly conventional system.

Other Business In Brief

•The board adopted a resolution to add a policy statement to the Association of Minnesota Counties platform. Brown said there is currently an inconsistency in policies between the state and other governmental units on the hiring of veterans. Commissioner Chuck Amunrud went on record as a veteran stating that there needs to be a consistency between the state and the county.

The proposed policy statement reads: “AMC supports eliminating the requirement for local governments to conduct a Veteran’s Preference hearing for a veteran who is discharged during probation in order to ensure consistency between state and local Veterans Preference laws.”

•After some discussion the board approved the immediate closing of the bridge on CR 124 or Lost Loop Road and the application for funding to remove the bridge. Commissioner Tom Kaase explained that he and county engineer Ron Gregg had met with residents that would be affected by the closure. Residents wanted the bridge to be posted at three tons and kept open.

Amunrud referred to a 2012 document that recommends closure due to the condition of the bridge, low usage, and the likelihood that state funds could be obtained to safely remove the bridge and create a turn around. He said they don’t have a lot of choice, adding if there were to be an incident involving the bridge, the county would be held liable.

Kaase had made a motion to post the bridge at three tons. It failed due to the lack of a second. Kaase voted against the motion to close the bridge.

•Elected official salaries for 2014 were set. The commissioners gave themselves a 1.5 percent raise or $300 more, setting their salaries at $20,300. Their salaries had not been raised for the past two years. Other elected officials including the county attorney, auditor/treasurer, recorder, and sheriff will also enjoy a raise for 2014.

•The minimum fee for garbage disposal at the county resource recovery center will be raised from $3 to $5 for any amount up to 60 pounds. The last price increase was six years ago.

•The purchase of an overhead projector costing $552 was approved for the highway conference room.

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