Commissioners Dewey Severson, Eric Johnson, Robert Burns, Teresa Walter, and Greg Myhre were all present on June 22, 2021, for the regular meeting of the Houston County Commission. Commissioner Dewey Severson attended the meeting virtually as he was on vacation. Chairman Burns called the meeting to order at 9:02 a.m. The meeting adjourned at 11:41 a.m.
Commissioner Johnson led the commissioners and audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commissioners approved the agenda and the board minutes from the June 8, 2021, regular meeting and the June 15, 2021, workgroup session.
“The County’s COVID-19 case numbers remain flat,” shared John Pugleasa, Director, Houston County Public Health.
Heather Myhre, Supervisor, Houston County Public Health, shared the current numbers from the Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 online dashboard. Houston County residents have received one dose by age category: 99.50% of residents 65-plus; 68.80% of residents 50-64; 70.10% of residents 16-plus; 57.80% of the County’s total population; and 67.40% of residents 12-plus.
Wednesday, June 23, from 3-6 p.m., Houston County Public Health is hosting a single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine walk-in clinic for Houston County residents, while supplies last, at the Houston County Public Health Office, Caledonia.
COVID-19 milestone! Pugleasa announced that Public Health will not be attending the County Commission meeting every week from now on unless something significant comes up.
Commissioners went into closed session at 9:30 a.m. Commissioners returned and went back into regular session at 10:10 a.m. In summary, general directions were provided, but there were not any decisions made.
The Commission went into closed session at 10:13 a.m. to discuss Mound Prairie Township lawsuit litigation. Commissioners returned to regular session at 10:37 a.m. Attorney for the Houston County Highway Department and Justin Conway, Jason J. Kubousbek presented the settlement agreement for board approval. Chairman Burns emphasized that this agreement is only between Mound Prairie Township and Houston County Highway Department, and Justin Conway. According to the agreement this is not an admission of liability by any of the parties. The County Defendants agree to sponsor a Local Road Improvement Program Grant application for South Ridge Road, and they will assist in preparing construction documents and the oversight and inspection of the South Ridge Road project. Approved.
At 10:40 a.m. the commissioners again went into closed session to discuss pending litigation regarding a tax court case. The board returned to regular session at 10:58 a.m. County Attorney Jandt gave a summary of the closed session. The board discussed an agreement regarding 425 N. Badger Street in Caledonia. The agreement stated the county would repay taxes that had been overpaid in the amount of $75,742.00 with interest. The commissioners approved Attorney Jandt signing the agreement on the County’s behalf.
All 11 items on the consent agenda were approved with one swift motion, included on the consent agenda: Resolution 21-28, 2022 Toward Zero Deaths State Road Grant.
The auditor/treasurer was authorized to conduct a public sale for a vacant lot located in Crescent Hills, Second Addition to the township of La Crescent and property located in the city of Houston at 315 S Chase Street, pursuant to MS 282.01; to be held at 10 a.m. on July 29, 2021, in the Commissioners Room at the Houston County Courthouse.
Approve the Minnesota Lawful Gambling Application for Exempt Permit on behalf of Sheldon Valley Sportsman’s Association for gambling activities to be conducted at the Sheldon Valley Sportsman’s Association Gun Range in Caledonia Township, with no waiting period. The event is scheduled for October 24, 2021.
Tess Kruger, County Personnel director included on the consent agenda the following personal matters. Hire Sam Benson as a drop site supervisor, 67-day casual/temporary employee; adjust Holly Felten’s assignment from .95 FTE to 1.0 FTE effective July 1, 2021; Holly Felten’s job was reclassification to C42, Step 2, effective January 1, 2021; Confirm Terry Ranzenberger’s resignation effective end of shift June 17, 2021; Upon a satisfactory background check, hire Mark Tewes as a probationary Recycling Center Lead; authorized Kruger to conduct a competitive search for a probationary Custodian II.
The board approved the liquor license for Ma Cal Grove County Club, Inc.
Commissioners did not waste any time adopting Resolution 21-32 Final Acceptance of Contract #305 – Van Gundy Excavating, LLC for a total cost of $267,418.14; Resolution 21-33 Final Acceptance of Contract #307 –Icon Constructors, LLC completes SAP 028-599-093 at a total cost of $552,254.00, $500 over the original contract amount; and Resolution 21-34 Final Acceptance of Contract #310 – Minnowa Construction Inc. completes SAP 028-599-092 at a total cost of $86,298.96.
Commissioners also approved Fraud Prevention and Investigation Contract (FPI). This is a five county FPI grant-funded contract hosted by Waubahsa County that provides an investigation into suspected public assistance fraud cases, as well as a basis for overpayments, program disqualification, and criminal prosecution as appropriate. The county is responsible for providing services. “Fraud is a small percent of the cases we monitor,” explained Pugleasa.
Commissioners approved the contract with Driftless Region Vector Control LLC to canvass specifically identified Houston County communities for potential mosquito-related human health hazards.
The Houston County fee schedule was last approved on June 22, 2021. Carol Lapham, Finance Director, requested that Commissioners approve the list of increases as presented. This was approved.
After a lengthy discussion regarding the existing building on Adam Augedahl property that is 1 ½’ below flood level, commissioners agreed to have the county attorney, Samuel Jandt, work with Chairperson Burns to draft a letter to Augedahl on behalf of the Board outlining the Board’s intent.
The Houston County Commission’s next meeting is Tuesday, July 6, at 9 a.m. The public is invited to dial in. Contact Donna Trehus, (507) 725-5803 to be included in remote meetings.