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County accepts Bonestroo proposal for hazardous mitigation plan

Fri, Jan 25th, 2008
Posted in Government

PRESTON - The Emergency Management Subcommittee recently interviewed three consultant firms to choose a contractor to develop a Hazard Mitigation Plan for Fillmore County. County Coordinator Karen Brown briefed the board on the committee meeting and explained the recommendation to accept the proposal of Bonestroo Rosene & Anderlik of Rochester with a $49,800 fee including expenses. The board voted to accept their proposal. Global Threat and Management had a lower bid, but a very limited staff. The county has a limited time to complete the plan, so accepted the second lowest bid and a firm with adequate staff to complete the plan in about six months.

The county has one year, or eighteen months if approved for an extension, from the date of the flood disaster in August to have a completed plan approved and in place in order to be eligible to apply for up to $10,000,000 from FEMA.

Emergency Management Director Deborah Teske suggested that the next step is to put together a Hazard Mitigation Team to help guide the work. The Emergency Management Advisory Group (EMAG) will meet tentatively on January 29 at 7:00 p.m. with representatives from Bonestroo and representatives from cities and townships in the county, school districts, nursing homes, DNR, SWCD, ambulance services, some businesses, and more to put together a Hazard Mitigation Team. Teske suggested that the county has four areas to work on including the southern portion, central portion, Rushford area and Spring Valley area.

Teske's goal is to have the plan put together by July or before and submit it to FEMA and the state at that time for approval. Chairman Randy Dahl added that he felt it was important that Bonestroo intends to keep FEMA updated with the progress in the plan's development.

Cities can adopt the county plan as their own or develop and adopt their own plan. The county plan automatically applies to townships. Once the county plan is developed, it will need to be approved by the county board and participating city councils and reviewed by FEMA and then a final adoption by the county board. The proposed schedule has this final adoption taking place in August 2008.

• Deborah Teske informed the board about Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT). The organization of community volunteers to a CERT program is a subgroup under the federal program Citizen Corps which includes the Neighborhood Watch program among others. Teske explained that she felt this was an ideal time to start the program when there is interest from citizens to become volunteers. She has an intern, a college student interested in Emergency Management, who is willing to train local volunteers in first aid and other minimal training. These citizens would then be in the CERT program and would make themselves available in times of disaster or other emergencies to do things like traffic direction, answering phones and other things to help first responders when needed. They would supplement trained firemen and EMT's.

Commissioner Duane Bakke worried that this effort would take away from the completion of the Hazard Mitigation Plan which should be the first priority. Teske assured him that this effort would mostly be worked on by the intern and would not take much of her time and attention. Prestby suggested that she put it before the Emergency Management Committee for their recommendation. He was also concerned about the county's liability with volunteers. Teske said that they would be covered as volunteers. Dahl said that he could support the effort if grant money were available for any costs associated with the intern. The intern could determine if there is any interest among citizens.

Marriage Index Software

Auditor/Treasurer Shirl Boelter asked for the purchase of software at a cost to the county of $1,000 over three years for their share of the Minnesota State Marriage Index. Boelter explained that the Fillmore County Historical Society has agreed to help with the data entering and are in favor of the state wide index.

Boelter encouraged board members to approve the resolution as there is no computerized listing of marriages in Fillmore County. Also, the marriage index in the county from 1853 through 1920 was copied by the Latter Day Saints of Salt Lake City, Utah, and these records are available on the Latter Day Saints website. She added that the historical society has offered to proofread the Latter Day Saints index for spelling errors.

Commissioner Marc Prestby suggested that this is "a want and not a need," and that only 29 counties are participating. Boelter said that she hoped all 87 counties will eventually participate as there is no state wide data available. Also, she added that all the surrounding counties including Olmsted, Houston, Winona, and Mower are participating. The index would include the name of the bride, groom and the date of marriage.

Randy Dahl expects that it will save some man hours in the future as people will be able to look up marriages for themselves. The purchase of the software was approved with Marc Prestby voting no.

Other Business

• Michelle Vrieze, EDA Grant Administrator, asked for and received approval from the board for a resolution to submit the Small Cities Development Program (SCDP) Application for 2008. She has visited the city councils across the county and received their approval for the county wide cooperative agreement. The cities of Canton, Chatfield, Harmony, Mabel, Ostrander, and Preston have signed on. Together there have been preapplications from the cities for twenty Owner Occupied Rehabilitations and fifteen Commercial Rehabilitations. She noted that Rushford is making applications on its own and is not in the cooperative agreement.

• Donna Rasmussen, Soil and Water Conservation District, asked and received approval for a contract with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for Farm Nutrient/Pesticide Management Assessment Program (FANMAP) in the South Branch Root River Watershed. The contract is to complete an evaluation that was initially with sixty farmers in the watershed area. The follow up will be with sixty randomly selected farmers and is a source of information about current farming practices in the area.

• Dispatcher Mike Ask explained to the board the current updating of information using E911 software. The county has in the past manually entered information when a 911 call came in. Ask noted that when someone calls in with a land line phone, that location is immediately determined. Sheriff Daryl Jensen said that with a cell phone new technology is still needed to catch up. Duane Bakke added that a cell phone caller needs to give the number off the nearest blue sign.

• The board approved the purchase of E911 software as recommended by the technology committee. Bakke stated the "software is another step on the way, making use of our rural addressing."

• Assessor Cynthia Blagsvedt asked the board to consider temporary contracts with two fee appraisers. Flood damaged properties have to be reappraised to document improvements that are made and also to document removal of structures. These appraisals could result in an increased market value of the property or a decreased market value. Appraisals will probably be made again in the fall. The two contracts were approved and will be temporary to address the increased work load due to the 2007 flood.

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