County Board approves final budget for 2019

By : 
GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY
Bluff Country Newspaper Group

Fillmore County commissioners convened for the final board meeting of 2018 on Tuesday, Dec. 18, with the resolution for the 2019 county budget garnering the Board’s attention. This meeting was the final one of the year, and the budget is required to be in place before the clock strikes on the new year.

County Coordinator Bobbie Vickerman highlighted health insurance benefit costs that affect the county’s budgeting plans, noting there are also changes in salaries in the auditor-treasurer’s position, as well as the recorder’s and the land records director’s salaries.

The final budget was approved, with a general revenue fund of $6,432,204, a library fund of $233,809, the human services fund of $1,473,948, an infrastructure fund of $150,000, a road and bridge fund of $1,925,618, a sanitation fund at $251,014, the airport fund at $39,050, Chatfield abatement for the Chatfield highway shop at $10,841, the county’s 2010 general obligation debt of $243,853, and the economic development authority’s cost of $58,756. The total 2019 levy was set at $10,819,093.

Vickerman shared a cost allocation invoice, as well as the 2019 appropriations for various entities that receive county support. She said the county is required to support the historical society, soil and water conservation district and the library system.

“Most of them are pretty similar to the same as last year, and most of them are the budget,” she said.

After some review, the commissioners proceeded with granting appropriations. The coordinator then asked for $600 to continue a leadership training program she’d already begun, but the topic was tabled until a meeting in January.

Also, the county is seeking requests for proposals for an official bank, as the finance committee suggested the county do what it can to find the best banking to manage taxpayers’ money. In response, Vickerman related that a change in the county’s banking institution would not happen until May because the current institution’s agreement ends in April. The board allowed her to go forward with the development of requests for proposals.

Highway department

Highway Engineer Ron Gregg came before the board with requests for final payment of $23,370.26 for a project in Carrolton Township, of $23,655.26 to Mathiowetz Construction for a project on County State Aid Highway 1, and for the purchase of three pieces of equipment for the highway department.

Highway Foreman Brent Kohn related the state contract for the equipment is due Dec. 31. Commissioner Randy Dahl stated he wanted to see more bids than the ones before him and to know that the highway committee had actually reviewed the recommendations being brought to the board for equipment purchases. He stated he would not vote for the estimated $19,000 expenditure.

“Where’s the other bids? Did the highway committee see any other bids for a side rotary mower? I don’t like things coming to us if the highway committee hasn’t discussed it,” Dahl added.

Kohn maintained that the matter had been brought before the highway committee, and Commissioner Mitch Lentz ascertained that the Board would be voting on a John Deere tractor. A vote was taken, and Dahl registered his vote against.

 A truck chassis came up after that — to purchase a truck outright and sell an existing truck at auction. Furthermore, the county’s engineering pickup truck at state bid was recommended for order, and Commissioner Duane Bakke and Commissioner Marc Prestby made the respective motions to approve the purchase, for which the commissioners obliged.

 The list of tools the highway department asked for included a Robinair A/C recycler for $2,795.65 and diagnostics tools for the county’s Caterpillar at a cost of $299 for software, $725 annually for software updates, a Snap-On USB link costing $849.99, and a Caterpillar truck adapter for $830.06. The purchase will allow the county to carry out diagnostics on its equipment instead of sending it to be fixed at a repair shop.

Social Services

Social Services Manager Kevin Olson had a list of items for the board’s consideration, beginning with a request to approve the 2019 transportation services contract with SEMCAC, followed by another request for the approval of a 2019 contract with Workforce Development.

Olson pointed out the contract with Workforce Development has the same dollar amount as the 2018 contract, and the commissioners chose to give their vote for it to proceed.

The third item he had to present regarded the 2019-2020 CREST cooperative agreement that accepts grant contract funding, and the fourth, a purchase service agreement for targeted case management and a business associate addendum with Hiawatha Mental Health came next.

The board authorized Olson to sign a purchase of services agreement for targeted case management with Zumbro Valley Health Center, as well as an agreement for mental health services with Zumbro Valley Health Center after asking him to explain why there are two contracts for targeted case management — Olson outlined there are two clinics involved because of clients’ proximity to the clinics.

Director of Nursing Jessica Erickson asked for the Board’s acceptance of a memorandum of understanding between federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics, including the Fillmore County Public Health Department and the Minnesota Department of Health.

Secondly, she sought a vote on the Fillmore-Houston Community Health Board International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants agreement with Olmsted County Public Health that makes funding available for mothers to consult someone who has information on breastfeeding.

She explained the first item involved the state giving free vaccinations to her department to distribute to recipients of Medical Assistance and that it is a renewal of the county’s contract with the state. Both were approved.

Other business

Additionally, David Schmidt of the Nature Conservancy, and Jaime Edwards and Rick Walsh of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Wildlife sat before the board with a request for the acquisition of approximately 584 acres in the city of Rushford Village.

Sheriff-elect John DeGeorge and Auditor-treasurer-elect Heidi Jones each presented their salary requests.

The county attorney’s office presented a right-of-way easement request for Elmer and Margaret Schueler of Rushford.

At the meeting’s close, Lentz thanked the rest of the board members for their hard work and for their cooperation as he served as chairman in 2018.