The Fillmore County commissioners convened for an afternoon meeting last Tuesday, Dec. 11, hearing from four department heads regarding programs and purchases.

First, building maintenance supervisor Terry Schultz presented bids for a new courthouse snowblower, with Preston Equipment putting in a quote of $1,300 and SEMA Equipment of Spring Valley offering one at $1,499. Schultz informed the board that he intended to divide the cost of the snowblower between his 2012 and 2013 budgets and attempt to sell the old one at Gehling Auction. The bid from Preston Equipment was approved.

Next, Sheriff Daryl Jensen updated the board on the automated external defibrillator (AED) program kickoff, for which there will be an open house held in the county boardroom this Wednesday, Dec. 19 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

County board member Thomas Kaase will be one of the speakers presenting during the open house.

Jensen stated, "I think the important thing is that officers have AEDs in their cars and are able to respond to calls...the odds are much better."

He then went on to address the ARMER radio grants the county has received for emergency service radios, noting that they expired this past Friday, Dec. 14.

"We have two grants in the total amount of $32,238.53. The grants will pay for the radios but not for the warranties. We haven't said who will pay for the warranties because we don't know who will be getting the radios. We have 20 fire and EMT agencies in the county, and only half of them will get the radios. This falls beneath the limits of the grants, and there's no cash layout except for the warranties."

Anne Detlefsen of Fillmore Family Advocates (FFA) spoke on the progress the new entity is making following its formation in the wake of the dissolution of Fillmore Family Resources (FFR). The FFR disbanded due to loss of funding.

She handed out a letter listing FFA's long- and short-term goals, beginning with establishing office space within the courthouse, as the commissioners had offered a small conference room for the organization's use. She cited installing a landline telephone as the first short-term goal after setting up an office, as the fledgling FFA - consisting of a small board of directors and several volunteers - will need it to continue.

Garnering donations and being able to employ two full-time staff members were other short-term goals.

Detlefsen thanked the commissioners for their generosity in lending FFA space to operate, adding that the allowance will create an opportunity for the board to become acquainted with FFA and its mission.

Jensen spoke regarding Detlefsen's dedication to the mission, saying, "Every one of the board members supports Fillmore Family Advocates, and the only way it will get off the ground is with Anne volunteering."

Funding for FFA currently stands at $4,100 in donations, but Detlefsen is exploring victims'services funding options and whether funds set aside for FFR are possibly available for FFA's use, as FFA is working to gain momentum to provide some services that FFR did not have the means to provide.

New county highway engineer Ronald Gregg presented a resolution for an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDoT) for a detour on County Roads 12 and 5 between Spring Valley and Wykoff to allow for work to be done on Highway 16. Compensation to the county from MNDoT will be approximately $4,650.

Next up was a resolution for an agreement with MNDoT for a detour from County Road 17 in Preston to the intersection of County Road 8 in Lanesboro. The county will receive $3,060 in compensation, and the job should last only 30 days or less.

Commissioner Duane Bakke inquired as to whether the state should have interest in the road from Preston Equipment to the fish hatchery outside Lanesboro.

Ductwork, sheetrock and insulation will be removed from the highway department's office building by Mavo Systems at a cost not to exceed $3,870, and a change order for asbestos and carpet tile removal by Mavo Systems will cost $470.

The commissioners voted to deny a change request from Schwab, Inc., to use spray insulation instead of fiberglass batts in the highway building because of the insulation value versus the cost, but paid a pay request of $17,575 to Schwab for other work already done.

Angstrom Analytical was paid $1,150 for asbestos abatement, Kane & Johnson, $316.99 for work performed at the highway building from Oct. 21 through Nov. 24, and an additional services proposal of $800 for interior finish design was denied and the work determined to be able to be done by county employees.

The county's tax and levy hearing was held later that evening, with approximately 15 people in attendance. See related story in this issue.