Commissioners Dewey Severson, Eric Johnson, Robert Burns, Teresa Walter, and Greg Myhre were all present at the July 13, 2021, meeting of the Houston County Commission. Chairman Burns called the meeting to order at 9 a.m. The meeting adjourned at 10:58 a.m.
Staff present included Allison Wagner, board clerk/EDA; Donna Trehus, auditor/treasurer; Brian Pogodzinski, County Engineer; John Pugleasa, Public Health and Human Services; Carol Lapham, Finance; Sheriff Mark Inglett; Mary Betz, interim recorder; Theresa Arrick-Kruger, Human Resources; and Amelia Meiners, Planning and Zoning. Yvonne Krogstad attended as a visitor.
Chairman Burns led the commissioners and attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commissioners approved the agenda and minutes from the July 6, 2021, meeting, and the Consent Agenda after Sheriff Inglett confirmed that Isaiah Bunke is replacing Dan Coogan.
Commissioner Severson asked Pogodzinski, “Why are we getting so many change orders? Pogodzinski explained, “It is usual to have 5% in change orders, rarely are there less than 3% and there are none over 10%.” The Highway Facility Change Order includes the cost of connecting the new electrical and gas service to the new building and installing a clean agent fire suppression system in the records room. The total of the Change Order is $29,419.50. Commissioner Johnson wants to withhold the 10% change order fee. Commissioner Myrhe seconded. Commissioners agreed it was not the sprinkler installer’s fault as it should have been in the contract as discussed on September 25, 2020. The motion carried.
COVID-19 Emergency Declaration
Chairman Burns confirmed that the Governor ended the State’s Emergency Declaration. Wagner indicated that she would remove the banner from the county’s website, and it will be in the minutes. County commissioners unanimously approved ending the County’s COVID-19 Emergency Declaration.
Planning and Zoning office
Commissioner Myhre explained, “I would like to begin a discussion regarding the structure of the Planning and Zoning office.” Commissioner Myhre went on to explain that he would like the Finance committee to sit down with Meiners “to tweak the department’s budget to help our employees and save dollars.” After hearing from Meiners and Arrick-Kruger, the consensus of the commissioners was to move forward on hiring the department director.
The Request for Proposal (RFP) for the new courthouse steps is scheduled to be released at the end of the week. In addition to basic concrete steps, contractors will have the option to add color to the concrete and make the steps’ base look like brick.
Writing grants and closing out a revolving fund load, the Houston County EDA Board is looking for a new board member. The position is open to all Houston County residents, not just business owners.
Comprehensive Land Use Plan
Krogstad asked commissioners for an update on the Comprehensive Land Use Plan stalled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Commissioners all agreed that the process of writing a Comprehensive Land Use Plan needs to move forward. The county should not start back at square one as the various committees have already completed work.
The next meeting of the Houston County Commission is Tuesday, July 27, 2021, at 9 a.m. at the Historic County Courthouse, Caledonia. The public is invited to dial in. Contact Donna Trehus, (507) 725-5803 to be included in remote meetings.