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Board discusses economic support programs

Fri, Oct 10th, 2008
Posted in Government

PRESTON - At the regular meeting of the county commissioners on October 7, Social Service Director Thomas Boyd asked for and received approval for a regional grant plan that would include Fillmore County. Boyd noted that the dollars available for Fillmore County from this grant would be only $1,195. The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program funds will be distributed until they run out.

Gail Bunge gave the board an overview of two income maintenance programs: the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) and the Diversionary Work Program (DWP). According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services families receiving welfare decreased more than 30% since 1994. Boyd noted that these decreases have occurred when the economy was stronger.

Bunge made it clear that MFIP assistance is limited to 60 months for most families. Families usually start on DWP for about four months which has a pay out of as much as $532 which goes toward rent and utilities. This DWP amount has not been raised since 1996. Both programs are designed to promote self-sufficiency, reward work and to help the head of the household to get and hold a job. Once the bread winner is employed, a partial supplemental is added until the family income is 15% above the federal poverty level. She explained that food support programs do not have a time limit and amounts are adjusted each October for those that qualify.

Boyd added that people want to work and that if there are jobs, they will work. He noted that the program sanctions people for not trying by reducing the MFIP payment. Their cases could be closed. The number of cases in Fillmore County on MFIP in August 2008, was 45 with a payment of $575 per case or $223 per person for the month. There were 6 DWP cases in August with an average pay out of $315 per case or $100 per person.


Highway Engineer John Grindeland asked for and received approval to purchase a used Geodimeter Tracker from Frontier Precision, Inc. for $5,195. The device is robotic and adjusts automatically and can allow for a one man survey crew if need be. Grindeland explained that a new one would cost over $20,000. The Highway Committee recommended approval.

Chairman Randy Dahl questioned Grindeland about communities in the county buying salt from the county. Peterson and Rushford Village have bought salt from the county in the past. Lanesboro and Mabel have asked to buy salt from the county supply this year also. Dahl is concerned about depleting the county's salt supply without replenishing it. He says it needs to be available for public safety.

Commissioner Chuck Amunrud commented that state guidelines should be followed detailing under what conditions to use the salt for optimum results. Commissioner Marc Prestby insisted that the county cannot turn down Lanesboro and Mabel and still sell to Rushford Village and Peterson. Dahl agreed that all should be treated the same. He added that salt is hard to get and that when some is sold, it should be replenished and kept available.

Other Business

• Donna Rasmussen, Soil and Water Conservation District, introduced Joe Magee who is the new Water Plan/TMDL Coordinator.

The Natural Resources Block Grant agreement with the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources was approved which includes five grants for a total of $145,599.

• Mike Frauenkron, Feedlot Officer, asked the board to approve the purchase of a vehicle using feedlot grant funds. He wanted to trade a 2004 Chevy half ton pickup with 39,000 miles for a passenger vehicle which would get much better mileage. He added that the pickup box does not get used. The $15,000 needed for the trade would come from grant funds.

Dahl asked if there is another department that could use this pickup. Commissioners decided to wait a week to check that out and to allow Frauenkron to get bids for an outright purchase.

• Emergency Management Director Deb Teske asked the board to consider the sale of one of two 1997 travel trailers owned by the county. Both trailers have been parked on Marv's Auto and RV lot in Spring Grove. A bid to purchase the trailer needing the most work has been made. Prestby commented that the intent was to sell one and use the money to help equip the other one for a mobile emergency unit. The board voted to accept the offer and sell the trailer.

• Zoning Administrator Norman Craig asked for and received approval for a Conditional Use Permit for National Wind for a meteorological tower in Beaver Township as recommended by the Planning and Zoning Committee.

• LeeAnn Howard, University of Minnesota Extension, asked for and received approval to use a van for three national 4-H trips for horse teams representing Fillmore County.

• The county board will meet on November 4 and 18 and December 2, 16, and 23.

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