10/15/2013 12:26:00 PM Dodge County Commissioners
Benefit increase approved, drug court congratulated
By Gretta Becay
Health insurance is on everyone's minds these days and the employees of Dodge County are no exception. At their meeting Oct 8, 2013, the Dodge County Commissioners approved an increase to the amount the county will pay towards county employees' health insurance premiums amounting to $20 per month for employees using insurance just for themselves and $50 per employee per month for family coverage.
Health insurance premiums jumped $22 per month for employees opting for single coverage and $55 per month for family rates.
Employee Relations Director Lisa Hager explained that, "Employees pay the entire cost of dental coverage which increased an average of 9.75 per cent."
A committee of employees from all over the county study employees' insurance for months before a recommendation is made to the commissioners. Committee members include Russ Lucas, Peggy Barrett, Kathy Jordan, Ryer Anderson, Rick Eggert, Duane Hansen, Lisa Kramer, and Robert Naatz.
The commissioners also learned from Drug Court Coordinator Eric Thompson and Case Manager Amanda Linderman that 93 per cent of drug court graduates have remained conviction-free since 2008. Equating to a seven per cent recidivism rate - return to criminal behavior - this far exceeds the national average of about 44 per cent recidivism.
The drug court's annual budget is about $160,000, $6,500 of which is paid by the participants themselves and about $36,000 which is paid through a grant from the state judicial branch.
The court handles about 30 clients per year, said Thompson. Taxpayers' costs for these clients are about $14/day. If there were no drug court and the offenders remained in the system, housing them in county jails would cost about $55/day and a state facility would cost about $113/day.
Commissioner Rod Peterson, commenting on the recidivism rate, said, "Twenty-five per cent would be good; this is really good."
Jim and Tom Paulson talked to the commissioners about their plans to renew their conditional use permit to continue to operate the Stussy Quarry just outside of Mantorville. As part of that process, staff members will review the application and present findings to the Planning Commission at their meeting at 1 p.m. Dec 4 at the courthouse. Quarry products include limestone, pit run, sand, black dirt, and fill material.
The commissioners approved:
Spending up to $80,000 to rebuild the bathrooms and first aid station at the fairgrounds. Partners on the project include Kasson-Mantorville high school students who will do some of the construction work and AG-COM Builders.
A six-months contract with Full Circle Organics, which has a composting facility in Good Thunder, Minn. The company composts food waste primarily generated by businesses and schools.
The purchase of software and hardware for the sheriff's department for the E-Citation system, the mobile computer system and the automatic vehicle location system for approximately $123,000.
The land-use agreement with the Mantorville Theatre Company for the location where the carriage house (from behind the old Folkestad garage in Kasson) will be placed. The structure will be moved from Kasson to a plot of land behind the county's maintenance garage in Mantorville.
The acceptance of a $10,000 grant from the state Department of Veterans' Affairs for the county's veteran service office operations.
The acceptance of the 2013 Emergency Management Performance Grant for $20,247 which helps pay the salary and benefits of the emergency manager.
The paying of a $1,500 grant to Triton High School from the county Comprehensive Water Management Plan. The school is building a floating dock for educational purposes in the school nature center.
The commissioners will meet again at 9:30 a.m. Oct 22 at the courthouse.