Kevin Kullott and Doug Martin received the 2013 Honorable Mention Safety Awards. They are shown with county board Chairman Randy Dahl.
Kevin Kullott and Doug Martin received the 2013 Honorable Mention Safety Awards. They are shown with county board Chairman Randy Dahl.
At the March 26 meeting, the Fillmore County Board of Commissioners received public input from Bonita Underbakke in regards to the Rein Quarry and effects of having the silica sand industry nearby.

After thanking the board for welcoming input on the issue, Underbakke spoke in support of having an Environmental Impact Statement study being required for the Rein silica sand mine, which is operated by Reilly Construction. She cited the potential for environmental impacts with water and air, and said the industry would harm the county's ability to maintain their infrastructure. Underbakke asked the board to consider doing what they can to have the Rein mine be included in the EIS, which will be done on the mines operated by Minnesota Sands, LLC.

"It wouldn't burden our staff because the EQB would manage it. Fillmore County would have input on the scoping process and be available to influence decisions on the CUP process. You can make a decision to influence the future," she concluded.

The Environmental Quality Board (EQB) decided on March 20 to become the state agency to run a more thorough environmental impact review on Minnesota Sands-operated mines. Fillmore County had requested this be done since the several mines impacted Winona and Houston counties as well. The EQB also has say over what requirement the Minnesota Sands mines must meet in order to fill out a conditional use permit (CUP), among other responsibilities.

Fourth District Commissioner Duane Bakke thanked Underbakke for sharing her comments. "We have work left to do on the finding of facts," shared Bakke adding that it was unclear if the board would be able to make a decision at the April 2 meeting on whether to require the Rein Quarry to complete an EIS. The decision date may be pushed to their April 9 meeting.

Community Services director Beth Wilms and several other county Community Services employees updated the board on the current changes going on in health care. Wilms said the county is trying to understand the impact that will be seen because of Gov. Mark Dayton's signing into law March 20 the state health exchange to comply with the Affordable Care Act. She shared the county's current efforts in planning for the Health Insurance Exchange (HIX) and the effect it will have on their caseload. By 2014, Wilms said the county would be expecting an additional 785 individuals on Medical Assistance, which equated to around 465 additional cases. Currently, the department has around 1,510 cases. The increase would begin next Oct. 1 when HIX opens up for delivery of services.

Training, Wilms suggested, would begin this July. "We may look at if there is more staff that should be brought on," Wilms shared adding that the expected resignation of an employee next year would also impact the department's ability to handle the increase in workload. Also, the Department of Human Services has ceased to provide face-to-face training and left it to the counties to provide their own training. Training as a whole is estimated to increase 10 percent for the first three to five months.

A new system is being developed to streamline all current systems, which includes Curam and MAXIS systems. While all current systems are being converted to the new one, Wilms said the county would have to deal with multiple systems and rules. However, she stressed that the new system should increase efficiency by 50 percent by 2016. She also mentioned that the state is receiving a 95 percent reimbursement for HIX and the Affordable Care Act implementation.

The entire switchover and increase of caseload would slow down processing speed of Medical Assistance applications at the county level, but increase speed after complete. Wilms told the board that she would be attending a Minnesota Association of Social Services Administrators conference and bring back more up-to-date information for the next board meeting.

Reporting back to the board with bid recommendations for five projects in the Highway Department was county engineer Ronald Gregg. The board approved the low bid from Reilly Construction for the installation of precast box culverts on CSAH 23 and 7. ICON Constructors, LLC, out of Mabel was approved to construct bridges and related work on 308th Street southeast of Chatfield and on CSAH 15 southwest of Preston. Gregg said he expected the work would be completed before Aug. 1.

The board also approved a resolution to apply for the MN DNR grant for the Eagle Cliff Spur Trail. As understood, the county would provide a 25 percent match on the amount awarded in the grant, if received, and provide for a 20-year maintenance of the trail.

Due to construction on State Highway 44 to Spring Grove from Highway 52, the board approved an agreement with MnDOT for the use of CSAH 12 and 21 as detour roads. The county would be reimbursed for the wear and tear on the road during that time of increased detour traffic. The county also entered into a five-year agreement with the DOT which would allow the county to receive help from the DOT in areas such as emergency activities.

Spring computer purchases were approved by recommendation of Jeff Cooper from Information Systems. The purchases updated six desktop computers and four laptops, which were from 2006 and 2005. The computer software will soon be unsupported, which prompted the purchases.

Commissioner Chuck Amunrud asked Cooper if there would be more consideration of the implementation of tablet devices.

In other business

As part of their consent agenda, the board approved the payment of ambulance appropriations of $4,500 to the following city's ambulance departments: Chatfield, Harmony, Lanesboro, Mabel, Preston, Rushford and Spring Valley.

The resignation of Kristen Mathison as a Public Health nurse was approved to be effective April 19. The board also approved both public and internal advertising for her full-time replacement.

The board approved a resolution to announce April as Child Abuse Prevention month.

The next board meeting is April 2.