The Watonwan County Board met Tuesday, Jan 22, and approved the purchase of two new Sabin copiers from New Star for the court house and extension offices.
They received bids from CBS at $16,959.50, Metro at $16,422 and New Star at $16,620.

The Watonwan County Board met Tuesday, Jan 22, and approved the purchase of two new Sabin copiers from New Star for the court house and extension offices.

They received bids from CBS at $16,959.50, Metro at $16,422 and New Star at $16,620.

“New Star is a whole lot cheaper here, because we paid a maintenance cost for our current copiers, and so what they are going to do is credit us at cost toward these new copiers, so that’s $1,120 on that,” said I.S. Director Greg Walsh.

This brings the estimated cost of both copiers for New Star to $14,225 with credit. If the Watonwan County Board would have made the decision to accept a bid from another company, they would have forfeit ten months of credit which the county is contractually obligated to pay.

The deal was made with the caveat that the purchase would not become final until the Sabin copier was fully connected to the Watonwan County servers.

“With the New Star Sabin copier we’ve had trouble connecting to our new servers,” said Walsh. “If we are to purchase a Sabin copier I’d like an assurance that we could connect to our servers.”

The Watonwan County Board expressed some hesitation in moving forward with the new Xerox Tax Program from LRMS which assists assessors in determining property tax.

The budgeted cost for the program is $186,300 with $70,000 placed in an escrow account this year. The county is obligated to pay Legacy on an annual basis at $53,000 with a three percent increase per year until 2016.

“I’m hesitant because I’ve made two attempts at this system and one failed miserably and the other we threw enough money at to get it to work,” said Commissioner Scott Sanders. “It’s like we have a car that we are paying $53,000 to drive and now we’re putting a down payment on a new car, but we don’t know when we’ll be able to drive this car - and we’re still making payments on it.”

The first tax system was put into place in 1983, but it has only just recently become an issue. Maintenance costs arise from trying to get the program to run, and it has been difficult to modify things within the system. The current program has been running for the last 20 years and is using 20 year old code.

“The more we change, the faster it changes,” said Commissioner David Holmgren.
The commissioners approved unanimously to move forward with the new Xerox Tax Program.

The agreement between the city of St. James and Watonwan County regarding the communications dispatch and office space lease was up for renegotiation at the Jan. 22 meeting.

“The two agreements ran out at the end of last year,” said Watonwan County Auditor Don Kuhlman. “I modified the dispatch one to resemble the Madelia agreement – these agreements continue on in perpetuity.”

The new agreement has St. James paying $2,500 on the first of each month for dispatching services. They will also be renting space from Watonwan County for $1,140 through 2013. This new agreement was approved unanimously by the Watonwan County Board.

Kuhlman then introduced a change order to the current maintenance and support agreements between ACS Enterprises Solutions, LLC and Minnesota Counties Computer Cooperative.

Kuhlman reported he would like to see the commissioners approve the purchase of a new cash register software application at the cost of $5,400 with a maintenance fee of $2,474. There was also another purchase order on the resolution for a New Vision Treasurers Financial Software Application at $4,900. Kuhlman was hesitant about the financial software.

“What we saw for a presentation did not impress us that much,” said Kuhlman.

This change order was tabled until more information could be provided.

The Watonwan County Board received two bids for site testing at the ARMER Tower from Braun and American Engineering. Braun made a bid at $4,995 and American Engineering’s bid came in at $2,290. The commissioners accepted the bid from American Engineering unanimously.

Other business:
Commissioner appointments on departments and committees were made.
Payment of the Sheriff and general credit card was approved.
Watonwan County Association of Township’s meeting was scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 21.

Commissioners reviewed a state engagement letter for a 2013 audit.
Kuhlman went over the December 2012 financials, with the general fund just $125,000 in the red and $450,000 in revenue over proposed budget being brought to the county.

Approved all training requests, personnel changes, payment of the bills and minutes.

A public hearing date and time was set up for the minor alterations in the Highway 60 - JD 13 project. The public hearing will be advertised in the upcoming Plaindealer