County Sdministrator Bobbie Hillery explained how CARE’s Reimbursements could reduce the Fillmore County levy at the board’s September 28 meeting.
Early budget numbers had already been reduced with adjusted insurance costs. Hillery listed other adjustments that were made to reduce the 2022 levy number. Using CARES funding salary reimbursements for Public Health, Emergency Management, administration, legal, zoning mileage, and the sheriff’s office came to a total of $188,156.05. CARES leave reimbursements for general, highway, and solid waste came to $65,105.56. Also, $200,000 of COVID funding for Highway was added in to come to a grand total of $453,262 of adjustments to reduce the levy.
The insurance and the pandemic related adjustments allowed the preliminary levy increase for 2022 to be at 3.49%. This amounts to $571.64 per capita.
These adjustments with the exception of reduced insurance costs does not actually cut the budget. It actually takes fund balance from the prior year to balance the budget; the extra fund balance is available due to CARES dollars and COVID dollars for Highway.
Commissioner Duane Bakke said the levy is lowered but the budget is mostly unchanged. Chairman Randy Dahl questioned whether using COVID funding to keep the levy lower will lead to a greater increase next year. Bakke noted $165,000 was added to the fund balance last year to allow for a cushion in case the legislature made cuts.
Commissioner Mitch Lentz said we could have budget cuts instead of using funding we didn’t plan on getting. We could still do budget cuts and put the extra COVID dollars in a fund for unseen things in the future. Bakke and Dahl said they didn’t see places to make substantial budget cuts. Hillery said there is still time to look at details.
A resolution was unanimously approved setting the preliminary 2022 levy at $11,927,762 or a 3.49% increase (about $402,000 increase over 2021). The Truth in Taxation hearing will be held on December 14 at 6:30 pm.
The Law Enforcement Committee has been drafting language for an ATV ordinance for use of Class I and Class II ATVs on county roads. Sheriff John DeGeorge said residents and a couple of commissioners have asked about an ordinance. This day several changes were suggested for the draft ordinance. The language changes will be brought back to the next meeting for review. Once the county board is satisfied with the amended draft it will be brought to a public hearing. The proposed ordinance will likely be published in the paper prior to the hearing.
Attorney Brett Corson drafted the ordinance to be compliant with the DNR statute. It will allow for recreational use of ATVs on county roads. There is a different set of regulations with the Ag permit for an ATV. Lentz said this ordinance should get 4-wheelers out of the ditch.
DeGeorge said city ordinances will govern what is legal within city limits.
Other business in brief
•Sara Monroe, DFO Victim Services, Kari Berg, DFO Corrections (not present), and Laura Nauman, Women’s Shelter asked that the board consider the proclamation for October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. They will hold activities throughout the month to bring attention to domestic violence. About one in four women and one in 10 men have experienced domestic violence. In 2020, 28 Minnesotans lost their lives to domestic violence. Approval was given to proclaim October 2021 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
• The corrected memorandum of understanding addendum for 2022-2024 with University of Minnesota Extension was approved. The 3 year agreement includes a 4-H intern, but removes the Ag intern.
Lisa Dierks, regional director for extension, introduced Lukas Phillips as the new Youth Development Educator.
Michael Cruse, University of Minnesota Extension, will work his last day for extension on October 8. He said he has been privileged to serve Fillmore County for about six years. Dierks reviewed the hiring process to replace Cruse.
•Kevin Olson asked for and received approval of 2022/2023 Foster Care transportation contracts between Fillmore County Social Services and all five of the school districts within the county.
•A field access permit to CR 23 was approved for Jerry Gingerich, section 34 Amherst Township.
•The final payment to Bruening Rock Products having completed the 2021 Rock Contract was approved. County engineer Ron Gregg and Darrell Schmitt requested approval for out of state travel to attend the American Concrete Pavement Association Conference. Gregg noted they had received an award for a project north and south of Ostrander. CSAH 1 was selected as an award winner in the county roads category. Because of that they can apply for a national award; they would like to receive it in person. Gregg said they have funds in the budget to pay for travel and lodging for four days. The out-of-state travel (Huntington Beach, Calif.) was approved as requested using existing budgeted travel dollars and permission was granted to exceed the policy limit for out-of-state travel.
Gregg reported that this is the second year they have been 100% in compliance with the metrics to inspect bridges. He congratulated his team for the National Bridge Inspection Standards compliance reviews which found them 100% compliant in eight metrics.
•Fillmore Public Health entered into a grant agreement with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety for traffic safety from October 1 through September 30, 2022. The board passed a resolution authorizing the Toward Zero Deaths grant agreement, accepting the grant.