Scammers still hitting Houston County residents
Tuesday, August 20, 2013 9:24 AM
On Aug. 13, County Recorder Bev Bauer reminded commissioners that scammers continue to take advantage of area residents.
Citing a recent letter she received from the Minnesota Attorney General's Office, Bauer said that a common ploy is to send homeowners solicitations telling them that they need to have a "certified copy" of the deed to their real estate. The scammers then offer to provide the document at a cost of up to $90.
"Companies that send these mailings count on the fact that many homeowners don't know how, where or when to get their deed to their home," a flyer from the Attorney General's department states.
"This is a bigger problem than I thought it was when I brought it to your attention last October," Bauer said. "Only the recorder can provide a certified copy; and the cost for that is $10."
4-H coordinator again FT job
Nicole Pokorney and Jerrold Tesmer of the University of Minnesota Extension returned to the commissioners' room as a follow-up to a visit last week.
The U of M had asked Houston County to increase their support for a 4-H coordinator position from .75 FTE to full-time.
"All seven counties in this corner of the state currently have a full-time 4-H coordinator with the exception of Houston County," Tesmer said.
After consulting with Finance Director Carol Lapham, commissioners approved the increase. She later stated that the difference in cost will actually be slightly less than anticipated. The 2014 contract with U of M is going up by $14,402 due to the increase in hours for the 4-H related position.
The contract, which is actually a memorandum of understanding, was agreed on by the Association of Minnesota Counties and the U of M and provides for wages, benefits, training, supervision and more. The 2014 cost to Houston County for a full time coordinator is $65,550.
Airport grant approved
County Engineer Brian Pogodzinski brought an Airport Maintenance and Operations grant agreement from MnDOT Aeronautics, covering the 2014-15 biennium.
The county board signed the documents, which make the county eligible for a two-third's cost share from the state towards those expenses. Houston County will only pay one-third of covered costs.
Money Creek dispute noted
Dale Omodt of the Money Creek Township Board told commissioners that a borrow pit used for roadwork has caused headaches for a neighboring landowner in Perkins Valley.
"It appears to be a non-following of the ordinance by the zoning board," Omodt said. "I don't know where that gets taken care of.
"According to the ordinance, when a contractor applies for a borrow pit, he is to come to the township board first. They applied for three pits for this project in Perkins Valley, and the contractor never met with the town board.
"If they had followed the ordinance, we wouldn't have had a problem. It's probably going to court. I don't know who they answer to in regard to zoning."
Commissioner Steve Schuldt said the board was aware of the dispute, but the topic "is not a board issue at this point."
Chairman Justin Zmyewski offered to meet with Omodt. The board took no other action.
HHA openings to be advertised
Commissioners approved advertising for some 67-day temporary (roster) employees to fill in as Home Health Aides, part of the Public Health/Nursing Department.
Personnel Director Tess Kruger requested the ads, which she said are needed to keep the "on call" list robust enough so that extra help is available when needed.
No exact number of roster openings was mentioned in the request, but Kruger said that having plenty of extra people on call is necessary, since most roster employees have regular jobs and are only available when extra hours don't conflict with those.
Flood repair agreement signed
The board signed a flood repair agreement with Joel and Jennifer Alameida of Brownsville.
The county will serve as sponsor for repairs to the private lot, which requires earthmoving, made through a program belonging to the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The homeowners agree to pay the 25 percent local match for the federal aid, depositing funds in an escrow account for that purpose.
In addition, the homeowners agree to "hold the county harmless from all costs, expenses, claims, demands and damages."
Other news from the board
Commissioners held another of their monthly financial updates prior to beginning a round of 2014 budget meetings with representatives from departments.
An emergency grant to help crime victims from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety was approved. The $500 grant required no match.