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Friday, October 24th, 2014
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Area libraries expand services


Fri, Feb 28th, 2014
Posted in All Government

Chatfield Library Director Monica Erickson and SELCO Assistant Director Michael Scott inform board members as to the value of library services and funding available to help with the expansion of services. Photo by Karen Reisner

Fillmore County library directors highlighted the many and varied services they provide at the county board’s September 25 meeting. Seven area libraries were represented by Monica Erickson, Chatfield; Stephanie Silvers, Harmony; Tara Johnson, Lanesboro; Donna Johnson, Mabel; Beth Anderson, Preston; Susan Hart, Rushford; and Dianne Sikkink, Spring Valley.

Susan Hart insisted that libraries are adapting to change and evolving with a lot of technology being incorporated into the library services. Libraries will continue to be here in the future, she said. Library staff provide a number of services helping people find what they need from books to information online to help with their devices. One patron had commented, “If they don’t have what you need, they will find it for you. How great is that?”

Monica Erickson said lots of folks come in and out of our doors for a variety of reasons including meetings, quiet time for reading, and little folks after school. Staff help people access new electronic materials and have access to 52 electronic data bases. Collections of books, magazines, electronic materials, audio books, movies, and music can be shared between libraries within SELCO and also through a network of libraries, even across state lines.

There are 47 computers throughout the seven libraries and they draw many folks of all ages. Wi-Fi access is available at most of the libraries. Erickson maintained they work to entertain and educate everyone that comes in. They sponsored 328 programs with an attendance total of almost 6,000.

Erickson said the money from the Arts and Heritage portion of the Minnesota Legacy funds is very helpful. Commissioner Duane Bakke asked about the amount of Legacy funding. Michael Scott, Assistant Director of SELCO, explained that they are in their fourth year of receiving the funding. In the current biennium $3 million was made available for all of the libraries. The funds received by SELCO are divided across the 11 southeast Minnesota counties it serves. They go back to the legislature every two years to apply for the funding through a competitive grant process.

Erickson added that they know their patrons and can provide personalized service. The market value of the retail service provided is over $4 million.

Chairman Chuck Amunrud asked if they have helped people sign up for the Affordable Care Act. Sikkink said they have helped and that navigation of the system has sped up.

Sheriff Department

Approval was given for the purchase of two new vehicles including a 2014 Chevrolet Impala Limited at the low quote on the Minnesota State Contract for $20,509.20 and a 2014 Dodge Durango AWD SSV at the low quote of $27,975.00 from Dodge of Burnsville (lower than the state contract quote). The Impala will replace a 2008 Impala with 130,000 miles, which will be sent to auction. The Durango will replace a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado, which will continue in use as a back-up vehicle that has FWD.

The board has a policy to buy at the state contract quote unless a local dealer can beat the state contract price.

The board approved the purchase of a low mileage used Chevrolet Impala from a local dealership under $17,000 at Sheriff Daryl Jensen’s discretion. It will replace a 2007 Impala.

Jensen reported 2013 statistics related to the South Eastern Minnesota Narcotics and Gang Task Force (SEMNGTF). The task force does not include Rochester, but includes Winona and Austin. There were 640 investigations, 191 search warrants, 339 felony drug arrests, and 33 non-felony arrests. Drugs seized included synthetic drugs, methamphetamine, marijuana, and prescription drugs. Also seized were 28 handguns and 38 long guns that were present during executed search warrants.

Jensen said the task force has a monthly meeting for sheriffs and police chiefs. He said the county gets a good return on its investment with the task force.

Other Business In Brief

•The board approved the request from Social Services to have a fifth employee telecommute for three days of the work week. Telecommuters are expected to do 20 to 30 percent more work. Community Services Director Beth Wilms said there has to be a value for the department as a whole to justify it. She suggested they produce a yearly report on the telecommuters work output.

Commissioner Tom Kaase said the benefit to the county is the increased work load, asking what is the cost. Wilms said it costs about $2,000 to get a new telecommuter set up. She said it doesn’t really matter where you are sitting to do the work, adding it is a privilege to telecommute.

The request for the additional telecommuter was approved for an employee that works in adult services and disability services.

•An addendum to 2014 CREST Initiative agreement was approved. Wilms said there were no major changes in the agreement. She said it is a flexible program that provides reimbursement for services not covered by other forms of reimbursement. The state wants more accurate reporting of these dollars. It is part of adult mental health services and helps with drug co-pays, dental work, housing, and emergency housing.

•Two resolutions were approved to support Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) legislative priorities. The first supports efforts for a new state-wide comprehensive transportation funding package to address Minnesota’s $50 billion transportation deficit (the Move MN Campaign) and the second supports legislation that would allow counties to publish certain public notices on their web sites instead of, or in addition to, an official newspaper.

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