PENNINGTON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
JUSTICE CENTER BOARD ROOM
FEBRUARY 14TH, 2023 – 10:00 A.M.
Pursuant to adjournment, the Pennington County Board of Commissioners met in the Pennington County Justice Center Board Room in Thief River Falls, MN, on Tuesday, February 14th, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. Members Present: Seth Nelson, Bruce Lawrence, Roy Sourdif, David Sorenson, and Neil Peterson. Members absent: None.
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Peterson and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
The Chairman asked if there were any amendments to the agenda. The County Coordinator noted that Sheriff Vettleson has been added to the agenda at 11:00 a.m. Commissioner Lawrence motioned, seconded by Commissioner Sorenson, to approve the Board agenda with the change presented. Motion carried.
Recognition of Citizens: None.
Motioned by Commissioner Nelson, seconded by Commissioner Sourdif, to approve the Board of minutes of January 24th, 2023, as presented. Motion carried.
Motioned by Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Commissioner Sorenson, to approve the Auditor and Manual warrants for December 2022 totaling $4,995,402.82, and the following Commissioner warrants. Motion carried.
County Revenue $157,650.36
Road & Bridge $ 62,027.09
Solid Waste Facility $ 8,190.36
Ditch Funds $ 12,367.91
Per diems and meal reimbursements in the amount of $2,148.20 were also approved.
County Coordinator Kevin Erickson presented an update on the Government Center 3rd floor remodel, noting that ACCT, Inc. completed asbestos abatement of the floors and ceiling on February 3rd and Schmitz Builders began demolition work on February 6th.
Motioned by Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Commissioner Nelson, to approve issuance of a duplicate warrant to Neil Peterson in the amount of $72.80 to replace lost warrant number 191806 dated June 11th, 2021, without issuance of an indemnifying bond. Motion carried.
Motioned by Commissioner Sourdif, seconded by Commissioner Nelson, to approve issuance of a duplicate warrant to Bruce Lawrence in the amount of $286.25 to replace lost warrant number 195004 dated August 26th, 2022, without issuance of an indemnifying bond. Motion carried.
The Pennington County Extension staff presented the following quarterly report:
Ashley Nerhus reported on 4-H, including Cloverbuds, LEGO Club, Engineer It, and Bio Girls. Our local 4-H was the recipient of the 2022 Spirit of the Silver Lining Grant in amount of $5,000. The 4-H Records Committee is reviewing their processes for the future and the Budget Committee is clarifying reimbursements and adopting policy for safe transports to and from 4-H events. Upcoming items include leadership workshops, Project Bowl, 4-H Project Day, and Regional Project Bowl Competition.
Cindi Kilen reported she continues to assist Ms. Nerhus with the 4-H program. The local Master Gardener group has been active and their next meeting will feature guest speakers, a lunch, etc. The Home Council Group meets on a quarterly basis and Grant Nelson from the office was the speaker at their last meeting. The group is planning their annual Spring Fling, which will be held at Zion Church on April 13th, 2023. Ms. Kilen also noted the 2023 Vegetable of the Year is kale.
Grant Nelson reported that he has attended many training opportunities this winter. He discussed annual seed inspections and will assist with the Dept. of Agriculture’s seed sampling later this spring. Grant also discussed local noxious weed concerns and plans. He stated the annual SCORE report is complete but won’t be submitted until after an upcoming meeting that will discuss the reporting. He noted that private pesticide training for farmers will be held soon.
County Assessor Carl Bruzek presented an Application for Abatement for Allan and Karen Young for parcel no. 23.00204960 for taxes payable 2024. A fire on January 28th, 2023, destroyed a shop on the property. Motioned by Commissioner Sourdif, seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, to approve the Application for Abatement for Allan and Karen Young as presented. Motion carried.
Motioned by Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Commissioner Sorenson, to accept the resignation of Alexa Grindeland as Deputy Assessor-Appraiser effective February 14th, 2023. Motion carried.
Motioned by Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Commissioner Sourdif, to authorize the County Assessor to advertise for the position of Deputy Assessor-Appraiser. Motion carried.
A request for overtime for Deputy Assessor-Appraiser Ashley Benson was discussed by Mr. Bruzek but was referred to the Personnel Committee by Commissioner Lawrence.
Mr. Bruzek noted that the Local Board of Appeal and Equalization meeting will be held in Meeting Room A of the Government Center this year due to the remodel of former Meeting Room B.
County Engineer Mike Flaagan noted that interviews for the Signman position were conducted, and he is recommending the hire of Tyler Johnson. Motioned by Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Commissioner Nelson, to approve the hire of Tyler Johnson as Signman, with an effective start date of February 27th, 2023. Motion carried.
Emergency Management Director Erik Beitel stated that the committee on drones has been meeting periodically and plans to meet with other entities for further discussion.
Mr. Beitel noted that the county Hazard Mitigation Plan, which must be updated every five years, is on hold at this time. He started that now is the time for the public to provide input on what they believe our county hazards are and how we can best mitigate them.
Mr. Beitel noted submission of federal disaster declarations for two projects. The request for overland flooding damages has been approved and received from FEMA in the amount of $83.027.69. The bridge slope repair work at the TRF Golf Course needs to be completed by June 15, 2023, however Engineer Flaagan said more time will likely be needed. Mr. Beitel recently attended a spring flood outlook meeting, and the forecast is similar to last spring. Snow levels are higher than last year but the moisture content is down, and the frost is about 20”-30” deep at this time. Discussion was held on hazards to be included in our mitigation plan, including flooding and riverbank erosion. Further discussion was held on drone applications in the county, with Mr. Beitel noting it’s likely that two drones will be needed based on varying department needs.
County Sheriff Seth Vettleson presented a request by Corrections Officer Tara Pfeiffer to transfer to Part-Time Corrections Officer. Motioned by Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Commissioner Sorenson, to approve the transfer of Tara Pfeiffer to Part-Time Corrections Officer effective February 14, 2023. Motion carried.
Motioned by Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Commissioner Sorenson, to approve the hire of Debbie Larson as DMV Deputy Registrar Assistant with an effective start date of February 27th, 2023. Motion carried.
The County Coordinator updated the Board on the vacant Deputy Auditor-Accounting/Payroll Manager position. Five applications have been received and interviews will be conducted on February 16th, 2023.
County Auditor-Treasurer Items: None.
County Coordinator Items: Presented earlier.
County Attorney Items: None.
Committee Reports: Commissioner Lawrence stated that the Technology Committee has discussed and recommends the purchase of a rotating ‘owl’ camera system for Meeting Room A in the Government Center, which can scan 360 degrees and aid in online meetings. The issue was tabled to the next Board meeting to allow time to explore purchase options, including a used camera that may be available from an area entity.
Commissioner Peterson noted a recent Northern Counties Land Use Board meeting where mining in northern MN was a topic. He also noted the AMC Legislative Conference is next week and includes a MN Rural Counties (MRC) meeting and meetings with MN legislators.
Commissioner Nelson presented an update on Community Strong and noted that key members will present at the next Board meeting.
Commissioner Peterson noted that the Human Service Committee will meet on Thursday, February 16th, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. in the Human Services building.
Pennington/Red Lake County Public Health & Home Care Director Kayla Jore presented an update. She noted that RSV and influenza cases appear to have peaked for the season. COVID-19 cases are fluctuating monthly with one hospitalization in December 2022. Her agency continues to hold vaccination clinics, but attendance has been low, and vaccination appointments are also being offered.
Ms. Jore discussed the parking situation with work beginning on the 3rd floor remodel project. Multiple parking spots are currently taken by construction vehicles, etc. and this creates an issue for her nurses that must come and go many times daily. The Board noted recent discussions with the City on parking, and they will waive the parking restrictions on the surrounding streets during the remodel. Ms. Jore asked that the Board consider the long-term parking situation for the building, which will only get worse once the 3rd floor is occupied by Human Services. Ms. Jore questioned if all the windows in the Government Center will be replaced as part of the remodel, to which the Board replied they will not.
Motioned by Commissioner Nelson, seconded by Commissioner Sourdif, to adjourn the Board meeting to February 28th, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. Motion carried.
Neil Peterson, Chairman
Board of Commissioners
WARRANTS FOR PUBLICATION
Warrants approved on
February 14, 2023 for payment on
February 17, 2023
CARGILL, INC. $12,415.80
FARGO – FORKS
FARMERS UNION OIL $5,087.37
HDR ENGINEERING, INC. $7,047.91
HRUBY ROAD SERVICE $5,320.00
HUDSON ELECTRIC, LLC $4,600.00
STATE TREASURER $2,915.50
NORTHDALE OIL INC. $8,742.00
PRO-WEST & ASSOCIATES
RED LAKE COUNTY COOP $3,668.93
SCHMITZ BUILDERS INC $30,400.00
SKILLET KITCHEN $6,345.24
THE TIMES $3,764.26
PAYMENT CENTER $2,001.27
LESS THAN $2000 $37,460.90
Final Total: $240,235.72