An update on proposed redesign of several county departments in order to centralize financial transactions prompted discussion from the Fillmore County Board of Commissioners during the Jan. 22 meeting.

Kristina Kohn of human resources said redesign is looked at every time a social services officer retires. The current proposal would move certain accounting functions from social services, public health, highway, and sheriff to the auditor/treasurer's office and save the county payroll costs of around $20,871, but decrease its merit reimbursement by about $18,000.

The staff in the treasurer's office would already have the skills to handle the additional workload, Kohn pointed out. She also shared that in the treasurer's office, there is a second "layer" of competent employees who fill in during absences or busy times, unlike the social services office.

Commissioner Tom Kaase asked how transferring these duties would affect the workload of the individual in social services. It was determined that there was still plenty of meaningful, full-time work that needed to be done, although an analysis on the specifics of that claim needed to be done.

Commissioner Randy Dahl mentioned that the county would probably see those duties move in the next few years anyway. County auditor/treasurer Shirl Boelter said that other counties have been doing similar redesign strategies recently with Clay County having done one in 1999. Boelter also said this finances centralization plan was to lean county processes so taxpayers would benefit.

Kohn added that the functions that would switch over to the auditor/treasurer office would be absorbed.

Commissioner Chuck Amunrud noted there would be a definite increase in responsibility and that the county has always compensated for the added responsibilities to the auditor/treasurer office.

By request of Kohn, the board approved advertising for an additional Grade 5 account technician who would work in the auditor/treasurer's office and assume the responsibilities transferred in from community services.

Commissioner Duane Bakke made a motion to direct community services to have a discussion with public health about how the redesign would affect that office.

Amunrud seconded the motion while noting that the county should have public health as a part of the redesign otherwise issues may come up in the case where someone would take a leave of absence in public health and they would be short of staff. The board approved the motion.

The board got an update from Fillmore County 4-H program coordinator LeAnn Howard on 4-H. Howard shared that they currently have 326 kids enrolled with about 100 adult volunteers. She highlighted the upcoming Project Bowl that is held in March and involves over 40 kids in competitions about dairy, general livestock and poultry. Dahl noted that it provides a great hands-on opportunity for kids. The board also approved the hire of a summer intern at the cost of $12.90 an hour to the county and at a cap of $3,500 for the eight-week employment.

In other business

County recorder David Kiehne received board approval for a proposal from software company Prowest for an upgrade to the county's current ArcGIS platform on intranet, public and subscription sites.

The board approved a final payment of $2,648 to Mavo for an asbestos abatement at the Highway Department.