At the final meeting of the year, Crow Wing County commissioners approved setting aside funds for specific projects.
Commitments included $5 million for the 2018 highway improvement plan, noting work expected on Highway 371.
Mike Carlson, accounting and finance manager, said the goal in setting funds aside is to avoid a property tax spike. Saving for a pay-as-you-go plan provides flexibility, Carlson said.
Other commitments include $1 million to fund retirement benefits costs, $325,000 for information technology, $10,524 for a veteran services van, $9,416 for the dive team and $9,026 for the mounted patrol, $1,070,33 for Community Services.
In other business, the board:
Approved a list of year-end per diem claims tagged by the state auditor as needing the full board approval. The per diems were for Commissioners Paul Thiede, Paul Koering and Rachel Reabe Nystrom.
Thiede said it infuriated him to be called out because he attended a public meeting. Administrator Tim Houle said a flaw in the system was in more than one commissioner attending certain meetings while a single commissioner may have given a report to the board.
Houle said he thought of it as a housekeeping item.
Learned Crow Wing County was the number one contributing organization to the United Way campaign with employees contributing $19,783. Houle said the county reached this contribution level and wasn’t the largest employer or the highest salary base.
Heard again from Charlie Makidon, Backus, on veterans service concerns.
Reappointed Harold Kraus to the Crow Wing County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Brenda Myers and Dick Raymond and Orville Duncan Jr. all to the Extension Committee.
Approved a 2014 capital project for an integrated voice response system for Community Services at an estimated cost of $75,000, to give people all day, everyday access and potentially reduce calls to the switchboard.
Hired Megan Bekius as a temporary social worker, noted the departure of Adam Loberg, property assessor in training and approved replacement staffing.
Approved a contract renewal for legal services of court appointed attorneys for Melanie Dotty and Raymond Horton for child in need of protective services (CHIPS) and permanency and termination of parental rights cases and William O’Hara for commitments, including sexually dangerous psychopaths.
In 2012, there were 137 cases opened and 139 cases closed for CHIPS and termination of parental rights cases with 106 cases opened and 121 cases closed through September in 2013. There were 69 commitment cases opened in 2012 and 73 closed and through September of 2013, there were 51 cases opened and 42 closed.
Accepted a Minnesota grading and base award for outstanding performance by the highway department on Highway 18 in Nisswa.
Approved a new all-terrain vehicle (ATV) trail permit between the county and Central Lakes ATV club and renewed ATV trail permits with Central Minnesota Wheelers Association, Over-the-Hills Gang and Pine Center Sportsmen’s Club.
Approved a timber cutting plan for 2014 with 400 acres of Aspen, 95 acres of birch, 500 acres of oak, 140 acres of northern hardwoods, 10 acres of jack pine, 200 acres of red oak, 30 acres of ash and other, and 50 acres of tamarack/black spruce for a total of $1,425 acres.
Approved a certificate of need request for the landfill. The county’s existing permit is based on the previous plan the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency approved for 634,400 cubic yards of capacity for 10 years expiring in 2015. The new request seeks 638,400 cubic yards covering 10 years to 2022.
Will meet Jan. 7 for the first meeting of the new year and reorganize the board.