County Board Briefs: Aug. 19

The Mille Lacs County Board of Commissioners conducted the following business during its Aug. 19 meeting. This report was written by Joel Stottrup.

Milaca VFW permit
The County Board approved a conditional use permit renewal for the Milaca VFW represented by Danny Sandberg.
The Siemer-Hakes VFW Post 10794 in Milaca had made its original conditional use permit request in 2012 for constructing a VFW building in Page Township north of Milaca. But the post was not able to begin construction within the one year time period required by ordinance. Since then the building size was reduced in the plans and a preliminary septic design was completed. The renewed permit has three conditions: downcast lighting and compliance with Minnesota Department of Transportation and Mille Lacs County regulations and ordinances.

Eddy’s Resort action
The board removed a condition it had previously attached to the conditional use permit for the Eddy’s Resort demolition and reconstruction commercial planned unit development. The original plan had a wastewater drainage system in the area of the resort. Since then the resort ownership has informed the county that it will be running the resort’s wastewater through a force main to a wastewater treatment plant instead. That means no impact to wetlands adjacent to the resort.
The condition had been to require county staff to establish the boundary of wetlands adjacent to the proposed subsurface drainage system.

Last Cast plat
The board followed the recommendation of the county Planning Commission to approve a simple plat requested by Sandy Smith for the Last Cast development along Mille Lacs Lake. The board had previously remanded the plat request back to the commission for further discussion with Kathio Township regarding the proposed private road serving five single-family lake lots. One neighbor voiced opposition to the road going through and connecting two streets, expressing concern over speed and water flow.
The plat approval carries five conditions including the recording of private maintenance of the road against each of the five lots, and that the radius of the cul-de-sac must be a minimum of 90 feet.

Letter of objection
The board will send a letter to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency objecting to one or more statements in the MPCA’s environmental impact statement regarding the proposal to expand the Rolling Hills Landfill near Buffalo, Minnesota. The part the county objects to is the impact statement saying that the East Central Solid Waste Commission’s landfill near Mora does not have sufficient capacity to dispose of all the municipal waste from its members. The members are the counties of Mille Lacs, Isanti, Chisago, Kanabec and Pine. Aitkin County recently approved a plan to deliver its solid waste to the ECSWC’s landfill as well.

Law library fees
The board approved increasing the county’s law library fee by $5 to make it $15 for criminal and civil matters for one year, with intent to review the fee after one year. Clerk of Courts George Lock, on behalf of the law library, and its trustees Judge Sarah Hennesy, County Attorney Jan Jude and Mille Lacs County Commissioner Dave Oslin submitted the request. It states that the law library revenues have fallen in recent years to the extent that without a fee increase the current minimum levels of service cannot be maintained.

Capital improvement projects
The board approved five capital projects with the total not to exceed $68,400. They are concrete repairs ($5,000), replacement of four roof top mechanical units ($54,200), reconfiguration of some waste piping ($4,000), landscaping ($4,000) and rewiring the camera in the judge’s elevator ($1,200).

Preparing for big race
The board approved a request from the city of Milaca for a street closing in Milaca on Sept. 20 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for the annual Mega Meet cross-country race that has many schools participating. Highway 36 will be closed in that time from 10th Street North to Highway 9.

Jail software
The board OK’d the request by county jail administrator Capt. Mike Smith and Sheriff Brent Lindgren to spend $34,762 plus an annual license and support cost of $4,762 for purchasing UniekEMR software for the county jail. The jail must implement such a system and demonstrate meaningful use of it by 2015 so as not to receive a 1 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursements.

Action regarding union
The board approved two memorandums of agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union. The first memorandum regards Tammie Gotvald in the courthouse unit as part of a union grievance. The memorandum states that Gotvald is to be paid additional duty pay for the period April 28 through June 6, 2014, in recognition of Gotvald being assigned additional duties resulting from the vacating and elimination of a position within the auditor-treasurer’s office in January 2014. The amount of extra pay was not included in the board’s resolution for the memorandum.
The other memorandum concerned the union assistant county attorney’s unit in which the union filed a grievance on behalf of Tara Lopez and Heather Griesert regarding single medical insurance contributions by the county. The memorandum states that the county will pay a one-time amount of $90.64 to Lopez. Also, the county in 2015 will contribute to an eligible employee’s health savings account an amount equal to the county’s contribution toward the single $15 co-pay plan minus the amount contributed to the single minimum value plan.

Collective bargaining agreement
The board authorized executing a collective bargaining agreement with the AFSCME union courthouse unit for 2014-15. The agreement gives a 1 percent increase for 2014, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2014, and a 2 percent increase the following year.

Shooting range
The board received a memo from Land Services Director Michele McPherson that the county Planning Commission tabled a request from David Mahady and Carol Gracik for a conditional use permit for a public shooting range, archery range and retail sales of antiques. McPherson noted that there was good attendance at a meeting on the request during which people spoke for and against the request.

Levy increase next year?
The board accepted notes on its Aug. 5 work session. It included a summary of a discussion on setting the 2015 county budget, with an indication that with the county’s current budget status there would be a need for a 3-4 percent levy increase in 2015.