At the September 25 county board meeting, the preliminary budget and levy for 2019 was discussed. County Coordinator Bobbie Vickerman provided a breakdown of each departmental budget.
The total 2019 preliminary levy is $10,819,093, which is an increase of 3.49%, or $364,893, over the 2018 final levy. The preliminary levy can be lowered in December when the final levy is set, but not raised. The 2019 levy numbers represent $518.50 per capita. The total levy included $119,773 in disparity aid. The amount of disparity aid is included in the levy because the state could change the amount at any time.
The $350,000 the county donated toward the veterans home will all be taken out of reserves.
Vickerman explained that poll pads were used on a trial basis in the primary election. They streamline the process and eliminate errors. Knowink has a proposal for 45 poll pads at a cost of $65,220. A grant from the state would pay for $18,629.32 of the total, leaving the county cost at $46,590.68, which includes maintenance for the first year. Vickerman noted capital funds are available to pay for the poll pads. In future years there will be a cost of about $6,000 per year for maintenance.
Commissioners questioned the need for 45 poll pads. Vickerman explained some more populous precincts will use two. The purchase of the poll pads was approved.
Fillmore County cities have requested the county increase their portion of funding for libraries in the county at a faster rate. The county paid $228,309 to SELCO in 2018. The county has budgeted $233,809 for 2019 or an increase of $5,500. The county has proposed a three-year contract with SELCO, with a $5,500 increase for each year.
SELCO had offered a one year contract. Commissioner Duane Bakke said he fully supports the three-year agreement the county offered. Commissioner Randy Dahl added he supports the libraries, but doesn’t think the one-year proposed contract is fair. The three-year offer is an increase of $16,500 over three years. A motion to not accept the one-year contract, but to again offer the three-year contract was approved.
Vickerman gave an update on the courthouse security system. A total of $242,000 has been spent on equipment and installation to date. Most of those funds came from two years of dividends from Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT). A grant in the amount of $31,000 from the state was used, along with less than $40,000 in county levy dollars.
Chief Deputy Kevin Beck is working to get the camera views in and outside the courthouse to appear on screens in the dispatcher’s office.
Other business in brief
• Doug Lind, Fillmore County Ag Society, requested financial assistance for concrete repairs that are needed inside and in front of the building used to store Rochester City Lines buses. City Lines pays rent to use the space and is willing to continue payment during the repair period when the buses will need to be stored outside. The outside concrete pad is to run the full length of the building (10 foot x 100 foot). The estimated cost for the repairs is $18,800.
Lind said they would like to do the repairs this fall. Some grant funds and other contributions total $7,000. Bakke noted the county has contributed to other maintenance projects at the fairgrounds in the past. The board settled on a donation of $7,000, which was approved. Lind thanked the board for their support.
Sarah Monroe, DFO Victim Services; Kari Berg, DFO Corrections; and Anne Detlefsen, Woman’s Shelter, asked the board to proclaim the month of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In 2017, 24 Minnesotans died in domestic violence incidents, including 19 women and five family members, friends, or interveners. Six victims were attempting to leave a relationship and nine were with their killer. Several activities will be held in the courthouse during the month to make us more aware of domestic violence. A “remember my name” display will be set up in the courthouse for the entire month.
• County Engineer Ron Gregg announced CSAH 1 from Highway 30 to Spring Valley is open to traffic as of September 24. Final payments were approved for Bruening Rock Products on the 2018 rock contract.
• Approval was given for an application for the annual County Veterans Service Officer Office Enhancement Grant in the amount of $10,000. No matching funds are required from the county. Veterans Service Officer Jason Marquardt listed things the money may purchase, including van tires, replacement cemetery markers/flag holders, publicity items, and tele-health equipment.
• The retirement request from Sylvia Leitzen, Case Aide, effective September 30 was approved with thanks for her 12 years of service.
• Two options for health insurance plan and contribution amounts for 2019 were offered. The option recommended by the Benefits Committee was approved. The higher deductible plans will still increase health insurance costs by 13.5%.
• Jeff Quam was hired as the replacement head mechanic, effective no later than October 12.
• Household Hazardous Waste Collection at the Resource Recovery Center in Preston will be held on October 2 from 12-5 p.m.