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Commissioners tour annex construction site

County Attorney Kyra Ladd, center, points out the private witness lounge to, from left, Ryan Odden, Highway Department, County Treasurer/Auditor Judy Taves, County Board Chair Dave Hillukka, Commissioner Chuck Horsager and Commissioner Jim Hofer. Heather Bullock/Wadena Pioneer journal.

Wadena County commissioners got a tour of the north annex building last Tuesday.

The building, currently under construction, is set to be move-in ready the first week of June.

Vercon Project Manager Justin Maaninga took County board chair Dave Hillukka, commissioners Sheldon Monson, Jim Hofer, Bill Stearns, Charles Horsager, County Attorney Kyra Ladd, County Clerk Judy Taves and Ryan Odden of the highway department through the building, pointing out designated areas for public and secure access. The building, when complete, will have space for the probation department, the county attorney, a private witness lounge and office space for the victim witness coordinator, as well as office space for other county departments.

In addition to the tour, commissioners approved the purchase of furniture for the office of the VWC in the amount of $4,408, the County Attorney's office for $27,343 and the probation office for $27,595. They also approved installation of data and telephone lines in the amount of $10,702, the wiring and camera installation in the amount of $2,415 and storage for $7,149, all done by West Central Telephone Association.

In other news the board:

• Heard the 2016 annual highway department report. Odden and Heather Olson provided the board with the Highway Department 2016 annual report. The department issued 28 utility permits, 42 moving permits and nine driveway permits in 2016.

• Accepted the resignation of Vern Kemper effective Feb. 10.

• Approved advertising for seasonal workers and increased the starting pay to $12 and hour to encourage more applicants.

• Approved advertising for a highway department maintenance supervisor.

• Accepted the hire of Jordan Lofgren as an engineering technician I at grade 51, step 2.

• Approved the purchase of a packer for $12,500 plus license fees. The Highway Department has been renting a packer for approximately $2,000 a year previously.

• Heard the annual report from David Anderson, Veteran Service Officer. Anderson reported approximately $15,736,000 VA dollars have come into Wadena County in 2015, the latest data available.

• Signed a letter of support to seek grant funding for Wi-Fi on Friendly Rider buses and activity school buses in five area school districts.

• Approved 2016 funding for the Initiative Foundation in the amount of $2,000. The money had been previously approved, but was never distributed.

• Approved credit card authorization for Rhonda Dittberner in the IT department with a limit of $5,000 for county purchases.