County makes issues known to legislators

NEW ULM – Brown County commissioners began their Tuesday meeting by discussing legislative issues with Sen. Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls) and Rep. Paul Torkelson (R-Lake Hanska).

Commissioner Scott Windschitl listed 14 suggestions to improve MNsure. The far-ranging suggestions addressed problems experienced during the enrollment period.

Brown County Probation Director Les Schultz asked the legislators to consider probation funding reform by combining funding sources to a single stream directed to county boards and eliminate funding confusion.

Brown County Family Services Director Tom Henderson’s legislative priorities list included simplifying eligibility rules for Income Maintenance and MA programs because it confuses clients and creates the need for large county bureaucracies to account for everyone following all the rules. It takes two years to fully train Minnesota eligibility workers due to program complexity.

Henderson called for a state minimum wage adjustment because in the face of rising living costs, the stagnant minimum wage creates increasing demand for supplemental programs like SNAP (food stamps), energy assistance and childcare programs.

Commissioners approved:

The Auditor-Treasurer’s 2013 delinquent county taxpayer report with a .6968 percent unpaid, down from .9590 in 2012. The direct payment program increased greatly in late 2013. Taxpayers are scheduling tax payments via online bill pay services.

Setting a letting date of Wednesday, Feb. 26, for the CSAH 30 project, from the west county line to TH 4 for cold, in-place recycle, overlay and aggregate shouldering work. The highway has many pavement cracks and needs rehabilitation. The project will be funded with federal and state aid funds. It is anticipated to begin Monday, June 2 and take 50 working days to complete.

Setting the same letting date for edge line rumble striping on CSAH 10 to CSAH 27, CSAH 24 from TH 4 to TH 15, and CSAH 25 from CSAH 11 to CSAH 13. The project will be funded with federal and state aid funds. It is anticipated to begin Monday, July 21 and take 20 working days to complete.

Authorizing the County Veterans Services Office to buy six Soldiers Rest graves at $375 each for $2,250 from the Home Cemetery Association, Sleepy Eye.

Approving purchase of a Ricoh MPC45503 System Copier for $7,772 from Metro Sales, Inc., Mankato for the Family Services Income Maintenance Unit.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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