Commissioners approve county assessor retirement

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Fillmore County’s commissioners polished off the business of the week during a very brief meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 2.

Human Resources Officer Kristina Kohn presented the retirement resignation request submitted by county assessor Cynthia Blagsvedt – effective Jan. 31, 2019. The board granted the request, thanking Blagsvedt for her 20-plus years of service to the county.

Next came discussion on the 2019 renewal of health insurance premiums for the Senior Gold and Medicare Blue Rx programs – plans offered to county retirees at no cost to the county.

This was followed by the second reading of the proposed updates to the county’s pre-employment physical policy and discussion regarding the establishment of a health savings account (HSA) for 2019.

Some confusion arose as Kohn and the commissioners attempted to understand how contributions to a health savings account or flexible spending account made by employees as opposed to a Voluntary Employee Benefits Association (VEBA) contribution by the county work out to provide the best options for employees’ health care benefits and services.

After sorting out what will and won’t be offered – particularly whether to offer VEBA benefits, which are more restrictive in combination with certain plans — Commissioner Randy Dahl spoke up. “So moved to offer the ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ plan.”

Highway Engineer Technician Supervisor Darrell Schmitt outlined a detour agreement drafted with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for the use of County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 8 north of Spring Valley to the Mower County line to make way for the restoration and repaving of State Highway 16 from Dexter to Spring Valley next spring and summer. The commissioners voted in favor of the detour resolution, with discussion focusing on how much roadway would be used and how much MnDOT had in the contract.

Solid Waste Administrator Drew Hatzenbihler sat before the commissioners with a resolution to set the current market value for mixed solid waste at $71.25 in pursuance of Minnesota statutes.

Administrative items encompassed passing a resolution for the $7,310 2019 Toward Zero Death (TZD) grant agreement with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety for traffic safety enforcement projects to be carried out between Oct. 1, 2018 and Sept. 30, 2019, and advertising for requests for proposals for a three-year auditing firm contract.

Coordinator Bobbie Vickerman explained to the commissioners that the TZD grant would be applied through the sheriff’s department and public health as educational opportunities.

Regarding the request for proposals for the auditor, she stated she would like to include that Fillmore County requires an outline of auditors’ staff and their experience so as to provide consistency in auditing procedures.

Lastly, the December meeting dates came up, as Christmas falls this year on Tuesday, Dec. 25. The board would not meet Dec. 4, but would convene on the afternoon and evening of Dec. 11 for the annual truth in taxation hearing and for its monthly special meeting on the morning of Dec. 18.