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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Watonwan County Board extends contract for support services

  • “I will forgive what happened in the last eight years and give this a chance, but it is difficult for me. We’ve been burned by the same partners and the same people and they’re doing exactly the same thing. The contract is once again written for the vendor, not to protect the counties.”
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  • Neil Johnson, district supervisor for the department of corrections, met with the Watonwan County Board during their regularly scheduled Tuesday, Feb. 5 meeting.
    Due to a transfer within the department, a clerical support staff position at the department of corrections has become vacant. Johnson proposed doing a contract with the state and having Kate Christiensen pick up the 20 hours of work the department has lost since the transfer.
    The contract will be  a five month pro-rated contract from February to June with the option of  an extension of two years when it has expired.
    “I think it’s wonderful that we have this service for the county,” said Commissioner Scott Sanders.
    Human Services Director Rich Collins updated the commissioners on the process of moving the Human Services building temporarily to its new location in Marian Hall.
    The County Board approved an office assets wire transfer of $24,405.06 for the cubicles that will be used in the new building.
    “We were going to get [the cubicles] from San Antonio, but that fell through.” said Collins. “Now we’re actually getting a lot nicer ones from the Twin Cities, at no additional cost.”
    The Human Services department will be closed Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. This day will be used for moving to the new building.
    The lease for the use of Marian Hall was amended to include insurance information into the lease.
    “We have to provide them with a certificate of insurance for $2 million,” said Auditor Don Kuhlman.
    The lease states that the county will pay $3,000 per month beginning Feb. 1, and will continue to pay that amount on the first of each month until the term of the lease expires. The Watonwan County Board approved this lease unanimously.
    County commissioners set a tax abatement for two properties in St. James township. The total refund for property one is $154. The total refund for property two is $348.
    County Treasurer Carol  Johnson announced she will be retiring March 29, 2013.
    “I have thoroughly enjoyed working for the county. I will miss working with the people here and the public,” said Johnson.
    There are only 19 counties left in the state with treasurers. Many have combined the position of treasurer and auditor as people have begun to retire.
    “I just want to thank you for your years of service, it’s been a joy,” said Sanders.
    A statewide resolution is being sent to the 2013 Minnesota Legislature to appropriate sufficient funds to reimburse the 55 participating counties for the full 50 percent of the cost of their probation officer salaries. The state has steadily decreased appropriations since 1996 and they are currently at 31 percent. The Watonwan County Board adapted the resolution to request the funds.
    Page 2 of 2 - Public Works Director Roger Risser met with the County Board and updated them on the road and bridge cash flow chart and authorized work for others expenses before presenting them quotes for sign posts.
    Quotes were received by three different companies, Newman Traffic Signs, Advantage Signs and Graphics and M-R Sign Company. The County Board accepted the bid of $9,606.99 from M-R Sign Company, which was the low bid. The board also approved a request to get bids for seasonal supplies.
    MnDOT and the County Board agreed to amend the detour agreement for the past use of CSAH 18. The original agreement anticipated 89 days of duration during the highway 4 bridge project. The project ultimately lasted 186 days. The amended amount encumbered was $1,902.22 bringing the total obligation to $3,702.22.
    The final order of business for the day was to ratify the contract with Minnesota Counties Computer Cooperative. The agreement commits the county to financial obligations incurred during the software service and license agreement between MCCC and Xerox for property tax and CAMA maintenance and support.
    “I will forgive what happened in the last eight years and give this a chance, but it is difficult for me. We’ve been burned by the same partners and the same people and they’re doing exactly the same thing,” said Sanders. “The contract is once again written for the vendor, not to protect the counties.”
    Other Business:
    The 2013 annual assessment of the ditch fund was completed and the board authorized the annual assessment which sets expenditures at $100,000 and revenue at $60,000.
    Watonwan County Board set the MVAC sub-grant contract amended amount at $9,220.
    There will be a public hearing Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 at the Watonwan County Resource Center in St. James for the construction and operation of a feedlot facility with over 700 animal units.
    Brown County will begin using the Helling gravel pit for storage this month until sometime this summer.
    Mark Hagen will become the new Maintenance Supervisor – leaving his current position which will be advertised vacant within the department for 10 days.
    The Watonwan County Board will be placing parcels for sale at the landfill, schultz pit and stark pit.
    Commissioners decided they will not demolish a storage building at the landfill.
    The Board will be surveying small parcels of land for the Watline trail project owned by New Way and the Richard Downs estate.

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