County Board Briefs

Below are summaries of action from the Jan. 31 meeting of the Mille Lacs County Board, compiled by Debbie Griffin.

Roadwork schedules set
County Engineer Bruce Cochran summarized the anticipated timelines of two major road construction projects scheduled for 2017. The reconstruction of part of a small portion of County Road 22/Quail Road close to Onamia begins around the middle of May and finishes in late September; the project will reroute the road alignment to straighten a dangerous curve. The reconstruction of parts of county roads 103 and 107 begins in July and finishes in October. Crews will improve about 2.5 miles of 107 from County Road 25 to County Road 103 and about a half mile of 103 from County Road 107 to Highway 169. Cochran said there is a public meeting about the 103 and 107 project 6-7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Rolf Olsen Community Center, 807 Main St., Onamia.

Grant money to help fund water initiatives
After multiple discussions about whether or not to apply for and match a state grant that could help fund water quality projects in the county, Mille Lacs County tentatively agreed at a Jan. 31 workshop what initiatives to fund with the total of $45,500 that comes half from the county and half from the state. The money will help pay for an awareness campaign regarding the new buffer law, provide seasonal personnel to mow noxious weeds at key times and conduct a comprehensive inventory of bridges and culverts across water.

Wellness plan targets moving bodies
Mille Lacs County Property and Records Clerk Karly Fetters introduced the county’s 2017 wellness plan, Wellcoa’s On The Move program, which encourages movement and physical activity in work environments where people stay in a sitting position for most of their workday. The program provides education on the simple movements people can use to earn points for rewards and small victories. Fetters said past years have included a Fitbit challenge and other programs, and this one aims to reach more people since the movements for points are ones anyone can do. On The Move is a national program, and through it Mille Lacs County will compete with other companies throughout the country.

New grader replaces 2004 model
Mille Lacs County voted at its Jan. 31 meeting to approve the planned capital-improvement replacement of a 2004 Cat motor grader with a current Cat 12M3 from Ziegler Inc., through the state-bid system. The old equipment will bring a trade-in value of $65,000, and the new model is not to exceed a cost of $338,040. Board Chairman Roger Tellinghuisen asked questions about the purchase. Roadway Superintendent Kevin Schultz said the old machine has performed well but has 13,000 hours on it and will soon need several expensive replacement parts.

Plow fleet adds a Mack
On the Mille Lacs County Board’s agenda for Jan. 31 was approval of a planned capital-improvement purchase of a Mack GU 713 truck for a total of $233,228 from Nuss Truck and Equipment through the state-bid system. Documentation about the purchase states the truck will replace one of the older models on the county’s fleet, but it will be decided later based on age, condition, mileage, fuel consumption and ergonomics which plow vehicle to rotate off the fleet.