Houston County Commissioners declared a state of emergency for damage resulting from the ongoing flooding of the Mississippi River at the commission meeting on Tuesday, May 9. The river started flooding on April 17.
Houston County Emergency Management director Mark Olson explained that threshold for Houston County is $4,1831.46. As of Monday, May 8 the town of Brownsville provided Olson with an estimate of $43,950.00 suffered by the town. At this time, it is not known if Wildcat Park suffered any damage. Olson confirmed that if Houston County qualifies for emergency funding from the federal government, Wildcat Park can be added at a later day. Olson noted that damages at Wildcat Park would need to be over $3,800.
Chairman Dewey Severson called the meeting to order at 9 a.m. and led his fellow colleagues and the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. The board approved the meeting agenda with one addition to the list of action items, and the minutes from the May 2 regularly scheduled commission meeting.
All five commissioners were in attendance: Chairman Severson, Eric Johnson, Robert (Bob) Burns, Bob Schuldt and Greg Myhre.
Howard Lampert and Dave Winnes appeared before the commissioners to follow up on their previous request that the county install a guardrail near the Evangelical Church of Peace outside of Freeburg to protect the church and cemetery from possible vehicle accidents. Lampert informed the commissioners that the congregation does not want to install a chain link fence on the cemetery property. Lampert mentioned that they have not received any information for the county engineer and will wait for his letter explaining the situation. Chairman Severson said they could come back after the reading the letter if they had any questions.
Commissioners approved the consent agenda in its entirety with one unanimous motion. Items list on the consent agenda include: 1) Accept the guardianship contract with Rebecca Servais. 2) Change the employment status of Deputy Auditor/Treasurer Mark Bennett from probationary to regular, effective 5/14/2023. 3) Hire Deanna McCabe as a probationary, 0.6 FTE Technical Clerk I, B-21, Step 3, effective 05/22/2023 conditioned upon successful completion of background check. 4) Initiate a competitive search for a 1.0 FTE Child Support Officer (B24) to fill the recent vacancy of a 1.0 FTE (Child Support Enforcement Aide (B22). 5) Change the employment status of Deputy Recorder Kathlene Barnet from probationary to regular, effective 5/14/2023.
The board granted an IUP (Interim Use Permit) to Mary Lou Graf for a temporary farm dwelling on her property (8892 Crispy Road, Hokah) in Brownsville Township. “The applicant will move to the temporary farm dwelling and a son will reside in the existing dwelling,” according to the application. In addition, Graf was granted a variance because of the proximity of the neighbor’s feedlot. Martin Herrick noted that Graf’s neighbor called him and said that he supports Graf’s request. Commission Burns emphasized that it applies to immediate families only.
Facilities manager Tess Kruger to ask the commission to approve $2,500 to complete all the painting on the courthouse. She added that the roof project is nearly completed, and inspections are going well. Kruger explained that she asked the contractor to provide the county with a quote to complete all the painting on the building noting that there is $9,926 left in the contingency. Commissioners approved her request.
In other business, the board:
• Approved the revised CREST (Collaboration, Resources, Education, Services, Technology) bylaws. CREST is a regional collaborative in SE MN that coordinates mental health services in Dodge, Steele, Waseca, Olmsted, Mower, Fillmore, Wabasha, Houston, Winona, and Goodhue counties.
• Approved the use of St. Mary’s parking lot during the Houston County parking lot construction project at a cost of $500 a month for a maximum of two months. The parking lot is for county employees during working time.
• Adjourned the meeting at 9:52 a.m.
The next regularly scheduled Houston County Commission meeting is Tuesday, May 23, 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.