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County employees recognized

Fri, Feb 12th, 2010
Posted in Business Announcements

Deborah Jeffers, County Attorney’s Office and Thomas Kycek, Sheriff’s Office along with Steven Rahn, Highway Maintenance (not pictured) were recognized for thirty-five years of service to the county.

Fillmore County commissioners had their annual reception to recognize years of service by employees at the board's February 9 meeting. Highway maintenance employees were hard at work clearing roads once more after another snow storm and were unable to attend. Chairman Duane Bakke recognized them in their absence, saying we appreciate their work out there.

Three employees were honored for thirty-five years of service, including Deborah Jeffers of the County Attorney's Office, Thomas Kycek of the Sheriff's Office, and Steven Rahn with Highway Maintenance who was absent. Two employees had achieved twenty-five years of service including Lynette Grabau with Public Health, HHA and Barbara Ann Shafer with Public Health, HHA.

Twenty-four more employees received certificates for serving twenty, fifteen, ten, and five years.

Each year the county awards employees for their efforts toward safety. Terry Schultz and Blaine Tufte received the safety award.


Wayne Stenberg, Community Development Semcac, gave a presentation on Bluff Country Housing and Redevelopment Authority (BCHRA). Semcac Community Development administrates the BCHRA which was started in 1991 and serves Fillmore and Houston Counties. The BCHRA has purchased Harmony Manor, a twenty-unit apartment complex which is being renovated by Semcac. The goal is to keep the apartments affordable. An Energy Block Grant is being used to put a boiler system in the complex.

Fillmore County has a revolving loan fund which initially was funded with $50,000 of levy money. Loans of up to $7,500 are available for qualifying applicants. Stenberg noted they have had to turn some people away due to credit ratings. He said a small cities proposal including Canton, Peterson and Whalan has been submitted for a total of 15 homes. If it is funded, there will be up to $20,000 available per home for rehabilitation only. These funds could be used for improvements like putting a new roof on a home to making it handicapped accessible.

The BCHRA strives to form partnerships with other organizations to preserve affordable housing, especially for people with fixed incomes. Stenberg says the county benefits with affordable rents and rehabbed homes so it can retain families, increase property values, make towns more stable and increase the ability to attract employers because of improved housing availability.

There was $7.6 million of federal money allocated a year ago to the eight-county area which has allowed Semcac to improve weatherization in 900 units over a year compared to the normal 300. Stenberg said they have worked with 80 contractors and have hired a weatherization crew.

Veteran Cemetery

Commissioner Chuck Amunrud described the idea of creating a buffer strip of land between the river and the bike trail around the county shops. He questioned the other commissioners about what they had in mind for the cemetery and what could be donated. Commissioner Marc Prestby said he thought they were in a waiting stage until it can be determined if the county farm property would be feasible for a cemetery. Amunrud said a suitability study would not happen until the state decided on the site.

Bakke suggested it may be appropriate to have a closed meeting to discuss what the county may be willing to donate and what would need to be purchased. He said this is a business deal and they need to have a private discussion as they will be dealing with another government entity.

Amunrud updated the board on two other sites the state is looking at, including Redwood Falls and the Duluth area. He said they are having trouble finding suitable property in the Duluth area.

Other Business In Brief

•County Coordinator Karen Brown said they had just been informed that the county was in compliance with their pay equity which is looked at by the state every three years.

•Ashley Stinson, Human Resources, asked for and received approval to advertise for the new county position, Director of Nursing. The position will not be a department head position under the planned redesign. The county could experience as much as $30,000 in salary savings compared with the salary which had been paid to the Director of Public Health. The position will be advertised for over three weeks.

•Mike Frauenkron, Feedlot, presented the 2009 MN Pollution Control agency report for review. The board approved the 2010-2011 County Feedlot Work Plan and the 2009 Annual Feedlot Office and Performance Credit Report. The total number of feedlots registered in 2009 was 864. Frauenkron said they are required to inspect 7 percent of them and the county exceeds that number. The state pays roughly $30-$40 per performance credit the county receives for inspections, corrective actions, and training completed. Fillmore County received 242 credits, which is the highest.

Anne Koliha, Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District, showed the board several before and after slides of feedlots in the county which have implemented feedlot fixes to control runoff of manure. She explained the owners work actively with them providing ideas on how to fix a problem. Over the past nine years there have been 121 feedlot fixes in the county.

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