Co. Board OKs fund transfer

NEW ULM – Brown County commissioners approved transferring more than $16,617.36 to the Salvation Army Northern Division Tuesday.

When Brown County Family Services (BCFS) administered the Energy Assistance Program in past years, it was active in soliciting funds for the Reach Out for Warmth Program that helped people who don’t qualify for federal or state energy assistance programs and found themselves without utilities, according to the Request for Board Action (RBA).

When the program was transferred to the Minnesota Valley Action Council (MVAC), BCFS offered to transfer the funds with the program but the MVAC declined the money. The funds were accepted by The Salvation Army, considered the closed way BCFS can provide donors with an acceptable alternative to the program they donated to, according to the RBA.

In an Oct. 17, 2013 letter to BCFS Director Tom Henderson, Salvation Army HeatShare Program Director Mike McGlone, wrote that the program designed to help seniors and disabled people plus families with household income interruptions with their past due utility bills, would only be used in Brown County by a Mankato-based caseworker with a toll-free phone number. HeatShare applications are done by phone interview and mail, according to the letter.

Last year, HeatShare helped 4,300 Minnesota families with more than $1 million in assistance, according to the letter. For more information, visit The toll-free phone number is 1-800-842-7279.

“We spent plenty of money over the years,” Henderson said. “I have lots of confidence in the Salvation Army. They’re very careful with their money. This is a one-time a payment…What happens now to the Brown County Reach Out For Warmth money is entirely up to the MVAC.”

Commissioners approved:

Purchasing a 40-foot sea shipping container for $2,950 from AA Container Sales, Inc. with a shipping/delivery rate of about $4/mile is gas prices hold after Jan. 2, 2014, to temporarily store electronic waste at the Brown County Landfill. Total cost is estimated at $3,400, according to the RBA.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) requires the county have a container that does not allow electronic waste to be exposed to the environment between pickups. In the past, the county rented a smaller shipping container from Mathiowetz Construction.

Authorized the purchase of an all-wheel drive, 3/4 ton pickup from Chuck Spaeth Ford at the state bid price for the county highway department. Unit 49 was demolished in an accident this summer with $7,284 of insurance money received after the mishap. Highway department 2013 equipment purchases were $20,791 under budget, making $28,075 available to replace the truck using the 2013 budget, according to the RBA.

State bid prices received for a 3/4 ton pickup were $26,609.09 from Chuck Spaeth Ford and $28,330.07 from Nelson Auto Center Dodge.

Approved a $46,660 boring tile line quote from H&D Underground Inc., Sleepy Eye, for work along CSAH 10 in an erosion area near the Minnesota River.

The river has been gradually eroding toward the CSAH 10 right-of-way over many years. In one area, erosion moved into the right-of-way. A guard rail was installed this summer for public safety, according to the RBA.

A University of Minnesota hydrologist hired by Brown County to analyze the erosion problem indicated a substantial amount of water is traveling down the river bluff underground at the hardpan layer, weakening the stream bank, which is a significant erosion cause, according to the RBA.

The hydrologist recommended a tile line be installed 15 to 18 feet deep along the south side of CSAH 10 to reduce water before it reaches the stream bank. Boring a tile line was a preferred option over open trench installation of a tile line to avoid causing a fissure line that could create a large slump, according to the RBA.

Quotes obtained were $46,660 for a total package job from H&D Underground Inc. Cross Country Underground Inc. offered to do boring only for $25,200 with the county supplying pipe, hand holes, crushed rock, hired jetter, supplying a back hoe to install hand holds. The highway department recommended the H&D Underground bid because the complete package has less uncertainty since the county would not have to supply materials, labor or equipment, according to the RBA.

By a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Jim Berg dissenting, authorized the City of Springfield to demolish blighted homes at 314 N Began and 320 W Central at a cost not to exceed $13,666 to the county. The county percentage would be paid with MVAC loan repayment funds. An assessment will be placed against the property for the County’s portion of the demolition with an agreement with the City that the County repayment of the assessment would take precedence.

By a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Richard Seeboth dissenting, authorized posting the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office Collections/Property Maintenance Assistant Position at .75 FTE (full-time equivalent, 30 hrs/week, Grade VIII $13.45 to $15.77/hr. Auditor/Treasurer Marlin Helget requested filling the position as full-time to maintain public service at the office counter all day, answer workstation questions and help the office move forward with a number of major projects. “We’ll have lots of work to do with more than 100 City of New Ulm platted lots to be placed on public auction, 2014 is an election year, adding staff responsibilities and we’ve taken on the Planning & Zoning responsibility to ensure septic lien filing.

Helget wrote on an attached board packet page that the full-time position was needed to segregate financial duties to insure compliance with state audit requirements.

Assistant Auditor/Treasurer Jean Prochniak said the office was “very conservatively staffed” and that she didn’t want any tax projects to fail.

A $139,496 2014 Employment Services Contract with MVAC for MFIP (Minnesota Family Investment Plan) employment counseling with MFIP cases. The amount is up from $134,976 in 2013.

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