City administrators from both Harmony and Preston were present at the March 5 Fillmore County commissioner meeting to discuss a new county cost share policy in the "Project Within Incorporated Cities" policy. The new policy would increase the county's cost share on municipal projects eligible for state aid to 50 percent.

These projects would include curb and gutter, sidewalks, driveways, and even, with discussion, bikeways. It was determined that bikeway cost share projects would be those that occur between curbs or in a project right-of-way. The bikeway must run parallel to the road.

Joe Hoffman of Preston and Jerome Illg of Harmony both agreed this new policy would be good. The board discussed the need for support from each city council before any engineering work could be done, so reimbursement of costs would occur.

County engineer Ronald Gregg shared that projects would not be advertised until there are final cost share plans with cities.

The board approved the advertisement of four county state aid highways with various project descriptions: County Road 23 for full depth reclamation and overlay, County Roads 17 and 35 for resurfacing, and County Road 1 for reconstruction. Gregg was also told by the board to return to the next meeting with a report comparing the use of asphalt to concrete for County Road 24.

At the Mach 12 Board of Commissioners meeting, Gregg presented that comparison between concrete to asphalt for the proposed paving of County Road 24. He recommended the board approve the use of concrete surfacing on the section of County Road 24 from Lenora to Township Highway 43.

Gregg showed a 35-year plan for both the concrete and asphalt surfacing options. The estimated cost for a concrete surface was $453,355 per mile and the asphalt was $380,351 per mile. However, the asphalt was estimated to cost more in the 35-year span due to crack and surface treatments, which would occur more often and cost more than concrete joint resealing.

Commissioner Chuck Amunrud said that the proposed cost for the asphalt was probably a very conservative estimate. "The concrete is the best bang for our buck," he shared noting County Road 44 was a great example with how concrete could work well.

The board approved the concrete recommendation.

There was also some discussion on how the county should address future maintenance for county roads. "We should have a more aggressive preservation program," Gregg stated.

It was noted that the cost of reconstructing roads is going up, so preservation is a must. Commissioner Randy Dahl mentioned the increased use of chipsealing on asphalt roads will need to happen.

In light of the recent snowstorms, the commissioners highlighted problems they had seen for themselves or heard from others about the worst road situations in the county.

Semcac programming

Due to the March 5 snowstorm, reporters from the Bluff Country Newspaper Group were unable to attend that meeting. According to the meeting minutes, Wayne Stenberg, executive director of Semcac, gave an update to the board on their current programming.

In 2012, Stenberg said 3,573 volunteers helped with Head Start, senior dining, transportation and other services. He also stated that 115,258 volunteer hours were donated, with 38,882 of those coming from individuals in low-income situations.

Semcac's most used program in 2012 was the energy assistance program that served 16,992 people. Stenberg also shared that other programs such as the food shelves, congregate dining and information and referral resources continue to be major programs. The mission of the agency, he reported, is being accomplished through partnerships with non-profits and faith organizations.

New vehicles

The board also approved the purchases of three vehicles for the county sheriff's department at the March 5 meeting. This includes a 2013 Dodge Durango to replace a 2001 Ford Expedition, a 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan to replace a 2008 Chevrolet van for jail use, and a 2013 Chevrolet Impala to replace a 2007 Impala, which had high mileage.

The board also discussed with Sheriff Daryl Jensen, the possible purchase of a 2012 Impala to replace the 2007 Impala. It was determined to find quotes from local dealers and come back to the board at a later date.

Trail grant program

The board approved an agreement made between the county and the Eagle Cliff Campground that would allow the campsite owners to apply for a grant from the Regional Trail Grant Program.

The county agreed to pay 25 percent matching funds and maintain the proposed Eagle Cliff Spur Trail Project for at least 20 years. The grant is through the Minnesota DNR. The agreement also stated that the owners would pay back the matching funds of at least $5,000 per year after the trail would be completed, and an entire reimbursement would have to be made by three years after its completion.

Community corrections

A Community Corrections update was given to the board at the March 12 meeting. Outgoing corrections director Doug Lambert introduced the new interim director, Shelly McBride, to the board.

McBride has worked as a high school teacher, a therapist, and at the corrections facility for the past 16 years. "I am looking forward to maximizing our resources, strengthening our teams and collaborating with the county," she shared.

Lambert explained the corrections department has seen a positive growth in dealing with repeat offenders. Other correction workers were introduced and thanked by the board. They included Curt Petzel, Kristine Frisby, Kari Berg, Star Polzin, Angie Lange and Melissa Wasink.

Other business

• The board approved the partial payment of $6,000 to CareyTech for the completed website project and launch. The new site can be found at http://www.co.fillmore.mn.us/.

• The board approved the purchase of an asphalt hot box dump trailer that would be used for crack fillings.