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home : government : county November 24, 2015

3/4/2013 1:26:00 PM
Dodge County Commisioners County makes Fair loan payment; hears from county medical examiner

By Gretta Becay

At their meeting Feb 26, 2013, the Dodge County commissioners agreed to pay the $11,367 delinquent payment on a loan to the Agricultural and Mechanical Society that was due in November. The loan was made in 2005 from the Kasson State Bank for $160,000 to build a new office building and bathrooms. The county had cosigned on the loan.

Mike Brual and Tom Franke were at the meeting and Commissioner Rod Peterson stressed how difficult the job is and how hard the volunteers who make up the fair board work.

Peterson suggested that the Four Seasons Ice Arena should be emptied during the fair so that it may be used for fair activities. He said he had reviewed the state statute and that, "...they can use all buildings [on the fair grounds] during the fair." Both Commissioners David Erickson and Lyle Tjosaas said "You're opening a can of worms," and Peterson said he was ready.

Commissioners also suggested reviewing the $800/month electric bill from the city of Kasson. Especially during the off-season, very little electricity should be being used, said one member.

Peterson, County Administrator Jim Elmquist and Finance Director Lisa Kramer will continue to work with the fair board to come to an agreement on a workable budget for the entity.

The commissioners listened to a report by the county medical examiner, Dr. Ross Reichard. The examiner's office "...investigates sudden, violent, unexpected, and suspicious deaths," in the county. The office determines the cause of death and the manner of death - defined as, "...a classification in which a determination is made regarding whether the death resulted from natural causes, homicide, suicide, or an accident."

In 2012, there were 95 deaths in the county. Of these, 37 were reported to the medical examiner, and of these 22 were certified after some type of examination of the body. The remaining 15 were certified without an examination. The office also issued 28 cremation permits or "...authorized body donations." Reichard said this is required to prevent possible evidence from being destroyed prematurely. Reichard asked the board members to approve a new $30/cremation permit to help cover administration fees for the examiner's office.

Commissioners agreed to 'negatively comment' on a legislative proposal from Southeastern Minnesota Multi-County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (SEMMCHRA). The group wishes to be allowed to tax member counties without city or county approval, effectively taxing citizens without an elected official overseeing the action. There are other taxing districts that can set levies in Minnesota in this way, including the Cedar River watershed district.

Dodge County has tried to terminate its relationship with SEMMCHRA for a long time, noted commissioner David Erickson, and there is no "...'out' clause," he said.

The board also approved:

• Spending $236,784 for property tax and appraisal software over the next three years.

• Accepting seven gift certificates from the Hubbell House to be used as incentives for drug court participants.

• Accepting baby quilts for the public health family health program from the St John Lutheran Church quilters' group in Kasson.

• Hiring an engineering technician II or III in the highway department to help perform the duties of retiring engineering supervisor Warren Schwenke.

• Using the county website to advertise for bids, requests for information, and requests for proposals for the highway department.

• Setting the annual employee recognition reception for 1:30 p.m. March 26 at the courthouse.

• Appointing Steven Gray as the commissioner representative to the county historical society.

• The name change of the liquor and Sunday sale license for the Oaks Country Club, Inc. from the Oaks Bar and Grill.

• Extending the county's membership in the Beacon Consortium. This is a group of medical treatment providers that share health information electronically to improve patient care.

It was reported that Shelley McBride had been appointed as interim director to replace retiring Doug Lambert of the Dodge Fillmore Olmstead Community Corrections organization.

The commissioners' next regular meeting is at 9:30 a.m. March 12 at the courthouse

Claremont Service

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