Fillmore County to use assessor from Winona County temporarily

Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy
Bluff Country Newspaper Group

Fillmore County’s Feb. 4 regular board meeting opened with the swearing in of Winona County assessor Stephen Hacken as Fillmore County’s temporary assessor. 

Following motions made by Commissioner Larry Hindt and Commissioner Mitch Lentz, the board unanimously approving Hacken’s appointment, Judge Matt Opat did the honors of making Hacken official. 

Hacken will serve Fillmore County until a new Fillmore County assessor can be hired, a project that the board and county human resources staff are addressing due to the general career field shortage of individuals who have the certifications necessary to be county assessors. 

In other business, highway engineer Ron Gregg presented a final payment resolution for County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 1 totaling $320,153.25 to pay for the concrete surfacing of the roadway. 

Commissioner Duane Bakke made the first motion – and Lentz, the second – to allow Gregg to proceed with the purchase of a 2020 Dodge Ram 1500 quad cab pickup from Mike Motors in Ely for $27,990.52.  The matter had been discussed during the Jan. 28 meeting but tabled for the Feb. 4 meeting, as the board requested that Gregg explore options to purchase vehicles of different brands rather than proceed with the single quote he had gotten for Ford pickups. 

Conversation then turned toward roads that need quick repairs to keep them in good condition until spring.  Gregg informed the board that he is working on the county road project plan and will present it to the board in the future.  The board briefly discussed the road project listing process and how it wants to determine the roads included on the list.       

Sheriff John DeGeorge and emergency manager Don Kullot had one item for the board’s consideration – approval of the 2020 Emergency Management Performance Grant – and Bakke and Lentz motioned for the board’s consideration, with the vote being unanimous. 

Also, assistant zoning administrator Kristi Ruesink sat in for zoning administrator Cristal Adkins, who was out of town happily meeting a new grandchild.  Ruesink brought forward a resolution for a conditional use permit (CUP) for Eric Udelhofen of Fillinona Solar Farm, LLC, to construct a solar structure in Fountain Township. Bakke and Commissioner Randy Dahl spurred the board’s passage of a motion for the CUP. 

Human resources officer Kristina Kohn brought forward a request to advertise for a replacement feedlot officer to take the position being vacated by longtime Fillmore County feedlot officer Mike Frauenkron, who will be departing by late spring.  The board granted Kohn approval to start advertising for the position, then went on to accept the impending May 28 resignation.

The board also approved the retirement of custodian Dan Byer, who has served for the past six years.  The commissioners expressed their appreciation to Byer for helping keep the county’s buildings in good condition. 

The consent agenda included approving the minutes of the Jan. 28 meeting.