Noting recent comments by some members of the Houston County Planning Commission (see last week's Herald) about the future of that body, Commissioner Justin Zmyewski pointed out at the Nov. 20 Houston County board meeting that there appears to be a lack of respect for the county board from some planning members.

"There could be a recommendation by the board that they might want to have someone who has a little bit of a more pro-active relationship (with county commissioners) act as chair," Commissioner Tom Bjerke noted.

"I can only remember two times that the county board has overturned planning and zoning. We've worked hand-in-hand and we've made a point to say that we want to back them.

"If one person believes otherwise, I think it's just an opinion, and that we shouldn't think that the whole board is like that.

"They've done a great job and they've put long, long hours into struggling with these issues, just like we are," Bjerke summed up.

"We've not coercing anyone to serve on the committee," Board Chair Jack Miller pointed out. "Secondly, it isn't a routine procedure to override their decision. I'd go on record just saying that we appreciate what they do.

"We think the Planning Commission serves a very important mission, but it's advisory. That doesn't mean that every time we have to agree with them."

New fees approved at hearing

After convening a public hearing on new fees for revenue recapture proceedings, commissioners approved a $30 charge to cover postage and staff time spent in entering claims.

Treasurer Donna Trehus stated that the most common claim that goes to this form of state collection is non-payment of property taxes on mobile homes.

No residents chose to speak during the hearing.

Other news from the board

Commissioners noted that the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT) has paid Houston County a dividend of $206,033 for 2012. That's slightly less than $213,192 paid in 2011, but more than the $156,042 dividend from 2010.

The board approved low-bidder Minnowa Construction for the replacement of two bridges on Day Valley Drive.

County engineer Brian Pogodzinski said that the $441,160 offer came in just below the engineer's estimate of $443,145.

The project is among the last that will be primarily funded through 2007 flood bonding monies, he added.

Commissioners accepted the resignation of social worker Kelly Smith effective Dec. 7 and later moved to hire Chelsey Senn in her position.

Personnel director Tess Kruger reported that a recent employee search had located Senn.

The board also voted to change the employment status of social worker Tammy Peterson from probationary to regular.

The board went into closed session to discuss "threatened litigation" with County Attorney Jamie Hammell. The subject of the meeting was described only as "a personnel matter."

December meeting schedule set

The county board will not meet on Dec. 4 because members will be attending the Association of Minnesota Counties annual conference in St. Cloud.

The board will hold its regular meetings on Dec. 11 and 18. Members will not meet on Tuesday, Dec. 25, due to the Christmas holiday, but rather, will meet on Wednesday, Dec. 26. All meetings commence at 9 a.m. and are held in the Commissioners Room of the Historic Courthouse in Caledonia.