"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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The arts, a good economic investment

Fri, Aug 25th, 2006
Posted in Government

PRESTON - The positive economic impact of the 'arts' was highlighted at the August 22 meeting of the Fillmore County Commissioners. Pat Alcott from the SE MN Arts Council (SEMAC) and Micheal-Jon Pease of Cornucopia Art Center promoted the 'arts' as a good investment for communities. In the eleven county Southeast Minnesota region the total economic impact from the 'arts' is calculated to be $17,874,752. Five-hundred and ten jobs are provided. Individuals attending events spend on a average of $29.80 above the cost of a ticket for souvenirs, meals, lodging, transportation, and other items.

Alcott said that 80% of the budget for the Arts Council is from the state, $50,000 from the McKnight Foundation, and the rest from other charitable groups and public entities. They were encouraging increased public funding. "Minnesota's arts and culture industry provides a return of $11 for every dollar of state investment."

Examples of projects involving schools and professional artists working with kids were offered. Alcott requested and received another $500 from Fillmore County to support these kind of projects.

Teleconference on Health

A short teleconference meeting with Houston County was held to accept a National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) federal grant in the amount of $20,000. County Nurse Sharon Serfling stated that the grant was to be directed toward reducing incidences of impaired driving resulting from alcohol use and abuse. This program would work in conjunction with law enforcement's "Safe Communities Coalition." The grant was accepted with $10,344 delegated to Fillmore County and $9656 delegated to Houston County.

Other Business

County Sheriff Daryl Jensen requested and received approval for the purchase of dispatch software from ProWest. The software would allow dispatchers to link E911 addresses with maps. Total cost of the project is $15,410 and funds will be taken from the 911 budget.

County Attorney Brett Corson presented his department's 2007 budget proposal. He said that the increases are mostly due to salary increases with the county attorney position becoming full time. Corson requested that the average of the salaries of full time county attorneys of nine regional counties be set for the position of Fillmore County Attorney. That average is $86,628.79.

Robert Bjorklund, Bjorklund Compensation Consulting, reviewed his report on a market study of Fillmore County employee compensation. He said that he ran a study similar to that of his last study, about six years ago. He noted that there has been substantial movement toward better alignment with the market place. Before the county salaries were 17% below the averages and they are now 11% below the averages. County Coordinator Karen Brown explained that the structure was set for salaries to be at 95% of the average six years ago.

A resolution was passed establishing a policy for reimbursing property owners for 911 addressing errors. Danea Larson noted that ten residents have contacted her about errors. The amount of reimbursement will be for the actual expense of correcting the addresses not to exceed $150. Larson said that most concerns have been about changing driving licenses and checks. The errors must be the responsibility of the Addressing Authority and only costs incurred from re-addressing as the result of these errors will be compensated. Chairman Duane Bakke felt that property owners should be compensated for their inconvenience, but this was not part of the resolution approved.

Businesses with errors for now will be covered with the same policy. Forestville State Park, for example, printed 80,000 brochures with an incorrect address. Commissioner Randy Dahl explained how self-stick labels could be run off to correct the brochures. Commissioner Chuck Amunrud stated that where the county made a mistake, it will correct it. Commissioner Marc Prestby suggested that they wait until someone comes forward requesting compensation. No action was taken for now.

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