Fillmore County's commissioners met this past Tuesday, March 11, and Sheriff Daryl Jensen shared information regarding a public employee safety program the county might consider.

He said the program is offered through the Minnesota Sheriff's Association to address the growing concern related to public employees' visibility and availability in the event that a predator should enter the county buildings.

He stated, "This is something that needs to be addressed. This is public employee training - it's not active shooter training - but that's part of it. It offers a lot of information about the increased hostility public employees face. I think there would be significant interest in it."

Commissioner Tom Kaase asked, "Are we looking at making this mandatory?"

After that, the commissioners considered whether it should be, and who and how many county employees would be included.

Amunrud commented, "This does fill a need and I think we'll find it's good training."

Kaase added, "You go places and hear about not 'if', but 'when' something is going to happen."

The commissioners passed a motion to take the cost of the training, $1,200, from the general fund to pay for a presentation for approximately 40 employees to attend the training session.

Highway department

Fillmore County Highway Engineer Ronald Gregg asked for permission to advertise for bids for surface treatment of County Road 12 between highways 52 and 43, and also for a box culvert bridge replacement project in Beaver Township.

He explained the process of micro-surfacing roads gives them longer life and chip-sealing other roads would work well.

Gregg noted that a representative of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) came and inspected a road project on which chip-sealing was used and deemed it "a good fix."

"We'll be doing full reclamation on 14 and 9 because those roads are so far gone. We can do a number of surface treatments to the roads to keep them in service," Gregg continued. "The difference between micro-surfacing and chip-sealing is that micro-surfacing has a scratch coat and a finish coat, and chip-sealing fills in all the little holes and ruts."

He added that micro-surfacing costs about $50,000 per mile, and chip-sealing is about $18,000 per mile.

He also spoke about hopes to renew the surface of County 5 between County 14 and Highway 44 through Cherry Grove in the near future.

Motions passed for advertising for both the bridge project and the surface treatment.

Greenleafton wastewater treatment

Fillmore County Attorney Brett Corson brought news about attorney options for the Greenleafton sanitary sewer project, as he felt he would be unable to devote the right amount of time and attention to the matter.

Greenleafton wastewater project facilitator Sheila Craig had made an attorney's name recommendation to Corson to bring before the board since her experience was with that particular attorney and his expertise and experience.

The attorney handling the Greenleafton project would have to be able to draft a wastewater treatment ordinance and arrange easements with property owners whose land the pipes would cross, all within a matter of three months because the project is made possible through a grant.

Permission was given for Corson and Craig to seek an attorney to deal with the project's ramifications.

Human resources

Human resources officer Kristina Kohn presented a request to hire Christina Bakken as a new county social worker, effective April 11.

Kohn stated there had been "a wonderful candidate pool" and Bakken was chosen to fill an almost immediate need for another social worker.

She also updated the commissioners on union negotiations between the county and two unions, asking that the commissioners consider holding discussions and negotiations earlier in the year due to the fact that by the time negotiations are typically held in September or October, the county's budget is already well established. By holding discussions in June, it would likely simplify the process. The board authorized Kohn to start working on arrangements for earlier negotiations.

Public Health

Next, Public Health nurse Lantha Stevens asked that the commissioners approve a resolution for an application to participate in the Preconception Health Grant Program, an initiative to assist women of childbearing age - defined by the county as 15 through 44 - in being healthier before becoming pregnant.

Stevens pointed out the grant, which the nursing department currently operates its preconception program under, was coming to an end and the new grant would last until 2016.

Fillmore County planned to apply in cooperation with Houston County, and Fillmore County's focus would be on nutrition education, and for the first time, the grant would include the women's partners in the program.

"We use the funding for some of our Amish visits," she remarked.

A vote passed to accept the resolution.

Other business

The commissioners also granted a request from accounting technician Heidi Jones for the replacement of a photograph printer at a cost of $719.66. Jones reported the printer would be used for passport photos. At first, it was thought the camera the county owns for taking passport photos was defective and causing passport photos to be rejected when presented for approval. After some investigation, it was found the printer was the culprit. Jones noted a new printer had been lent to the county for testing and was found to be satisfactory.

Resource recovery representative Jon Martin brought forward the renewal of waste hauler contracts within the county, including Wm. Hanson Waste Removal, S&S Sanitation, Richard's Sanitation, Waste Management of Rochester and Harter's Trash & Recycling, all of which were approved separately.