Houston County Engineer Brian Pogodzinski announced at the February 6 Houston County Commission meeting that his office received notice in January from MnDOT that instead of the anticipated statewide transportation funding increase of 2-4%, the county will now see an increase of just over 10% for 2024.
Pogodzinski explained, “What that means for Houston County is that we will get about $300,000 more for state aide construction account funds, which does not affect the levy, but it does give us additional money for projects for this year.” In addition, the county will receive an additional $216,049 over the original budgeted amount for maintenance which results in a reduction in the county’s levy because the county is reimbursed dollar for dollar. Pogodzinski added, “There is an additional $13,517 that we may or may not receive for our municipal roadways, this is all our roadways in city limits with the exception of La Crescent.”
Chairman Eric Johnson promptly called the meeting to order at 9 a.m. and led his fellow colleagues and the gallery in the Pledge of Allegiance. The board unanimously approved the meeting agenda as written and the minutes from the January 23 regular board meeting.
Board members in attendance included Dewey Severson, Chairman Johnson, Bob Schuldt and Greg Myhre. Commissioner Robert (Bob) Burns was not in attendance.
Since there were no public comments or appointments, the board quickly moved to the consent agenda which included five personal matters and five Public Health annual contracts. Jennifer Curtis was hired as a full-time home-based community services social worker and Abigail Bendel was hired as a full-time children’s protective services social worker. Social Worker Megan Engevold’s resignation was accepted and a search to replace Engevold was approved. Ben Novak’s appointment was temporarily changed from part-time to full-time through March 23, 2024.
Service contracts with ABC/Woodland, Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center, Semcac, Tellurian UCAN Inc., and Woods were approved.
The board approved the two-year child support agreement with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). According to the agenda request form, the agreement “sets forth roles and responsibilities covering the administration of child support, establishment of paternity and medical support liability programs. It also sets forth parameters for county re-imbursement for these services.”
The council awarded sole-bidder Dunn Blacktop the $3,674,929.89 CSAH 13 paving contract, which is 4.9% over the engineer’s estimate. Pogodzinski explained that the rural area from Houston to the Fillmore County line, except for one small section that was redone a few years ago, will be paved.
In other business, commissioners:
•Accepted the planning commission’s recommendation to issue a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to Ross and Shauna Mundinger. The three-bedroom home with a three-car garage and deck will be placed in an ag district in Brownsville Township.
• Awarded Minnowa Construction the $203,130.25 contract to install a 12’8” wide by 7’8” tall which replaces a 12’ by 8’ box culvert on CSAH 20. The engineer’s estimate was $304,096.50.
•Authorized Pogodzinski to use MnDOT to stripe the county roads in 2024. The striping is expected to happen early summer.
•Adjourned the meeting at 10:26 a.m.
The next regularly scheduled Houston County Commission meeting is Tuesday, February 13 at 9 a.m. in the County Commission Board Room 222, located on the second floor in the historic county courthouse, Caledonia, or via the county conference call line (312) 626-6700 enter ID: 994-7297-7175 and password 368422. Public attendees are requested to mute their line until addressed.