The Tuesday, Feb. 4, Fillmore County commissioners' meeting was brief, with a short agenda that included reports from county recorder Dave Kiehne, University of Minnesota Extension representative LeeAnn Howard, Fillmore County Sheriff Daryl Jensen and Fillmore County Human Resources Officer Kristina Kohn.

County recorder

Kiehne presented a contract for the Canton lift station, assuring the board that the agreement for the station made between the city of Canton, Fillmore County and the county highway department "is on file" and that the main concern is that it can be found in the future, as it is not recorded digitally. A motion passed to accept the contract.

He then outlined the county's compliance report, noting that the county's records are in compliance with all aspects of the state law.

"We recorded 35 more documents in 2013 than we did in 2012, and the number of documents we e-recorded nearly doubled," Kiehne said. "Hennepin County's documents...nearly 40 percent are e-recorded. It's typically about three days' turnaround, and the beauty of e-recording is that we can file and print the document, and the submitter has it back in about five minutes. The mail situation...it has taken about nine days. We average about three documents a day, and this gets rid of the paper side of the job - we can e-mail it to someone if they say we lost it. It's nice to have all the zoning ordinances on file."

Extension service

Howard shared an update on 4-H activities next, as she had been scheduled to address the commissioners during the Jan. 28 meeting but was unable to attend due to illness.

She stated that current Fillmore County 4-H enrollment stands at 232 youth and 80 adults, and that the program is a busy one, with seven teams competing at the regional Project Bowl in March, bringing projects that encompass dairy, general livestock and poultry.

She also related that animals brought by 4-H members to the county fair will now be required to have tags that can be scanned for health and registration purposes.

Howard also highlighted a leadership retreat, Lead Without Walls that was originally scheduled for Feb. 14 through 16 at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center. However, the date for the retreat has since been changed to a weekend in August.

The board granted Howard permission to hire a summer intern at $11 per hour and a cost to the county of $12.90. "This will be a University-hired employee, so they'll handle the Workman's Compensation," she said.

Commissioner Randy Dahl inquired whether Howard was hoping to hire a Fillmore County resident, and she replied, "We encourage it to be a Fillmore County person," but that the position is open to others and had almost been filled. However, she said, that candidate opted to take another position that would be more fitting to his education.

Sheriff

Jensen brought forth Wykoff's police contract next.

"We have law enforcement contracts with Spring Valley, Wykoff, Harmony, Canton and Mabel. The League of Minnesota Cities wanted us to update the language in the Wykoff contract, and we added language to protect the county," he explained.

Commissioner Chuck Amunrud asked, "When you have contracts with other cities, do they have similar language?"

Jensen replied that a unique one is Preston, because they have their own police and a contract with Lanesboro.

"Fountain and Ostrander have their own police with a part-time chief who is the same person. Rushford Village contracts with Rushford. The city of Peterson is paying extra to the fire department and ambulance, and they figure it makes sense to pay the Rushford police when they can respond quickly - within five minutes - when it might take us half an hour to get to Peterson, then we take over."

He went on, "Wykoff's contract has changed. The amount of money hasn't changed, but we've reduced the hours because we didn't want to raise the amount after they'd budgeted. We are in the city of Wykoff approximately two hours out of 24 each day, consistently inconsistent because they like it that way. It funds about 30 percent of an officer. We have a good relationship with the city and the community is big enough and has a call volume to require the time."

A motion passed to accept the Wykoff police contract as presented.

Human resources

Kohn presented a request to hire a replacement eligibility worker, as recommended by the Community Services department.

"The volume of the department still demands someone in the position, and I'd like to post it internally for one week, then post it externally," she said. "We did post it about nine months ago, and there were a lot of applications. Once the testing pool was done, we were down from about 80 applicants to about 12, and we did hire three."

The commissioners granted permission to post the position internally for one week, then re-post it externally.

Kohn then spoke about the placement of two automated external defibrillators (AED) at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, as grant funds for two remained and the county was working to determine where the best public placement of the units might be.

She told the board members the decision was made due to the number of students who visit the two-site camp each year. She said, "(They host) 127 schools every year, plus summer camps, totaling 17,000 people each year."

Kohn added it would be an ideal location for the AEDs, as its only AED is not a new model and has to be sent along with staff to the site where it is most likely needed in an emergency.

Amunrud pointed out he had thought that the new veterans cemetery might be another ideal location, but Kohn added funding might be available for more AEDs next year and that would be taken into consideration.

The commissioners were pleased to be able to provide the AEDs for Eagle Bluff.

County coordinator, final thoughts

Next, county coordinator Bobbie Vickerman was designated as the county privacy official and information contact with the provision that in her absence, the coordinator-designee would be authorized to receive information and complaints regarding privacy issues.

After voting to approve the designation, Amunrud inquired of each board member regarding what various county matters might be of interest or are on the calendar.

Dahl shared his concern is that the recent budget sequester has affected senior nutrition programming, particularly congregate senior nutrition programs. While the meals seniors once enjoyed at senior nutrition sites are being delivered to their homes, they are now missing the companionship that comes with going to lunch every day.

Furthermore, the administrative structure of the programming is being changed so the volunteers who are serving food to seniors are being charged with the task of educating them on nutritional choices. The commissioners acknowledged that is not what the volunteers' jobs were meant to accomplish, and the administration is still supposed to handle nutrition education.

Finally, Amunrud cited he had participated in a discussion about the law library and how the county will convert some of its holdings to digital format.

"We have to keep a law library, by statute, but we're considering the budget and getting rid of some of the books, going digital. We will meet again," he concluded.