As part of their ongoing effort to restructure Wadena County government to make it more efficient and effective, Wadena commissioners held a special meeting on Jan. 17. All commissioners attended, along with County Attorney Kyra Ladd, County Engineer Ryan Odden, Social Services Director Paul Sailer, Public Health Director Cindy Pederson, and Auditor/Treasurer Judy Taves. Thus, the meeting included the four of the county's five revenue fund managers as well as its commissioners.
Council members spent time taking care of organizational matters that occur annually, and considered several proposals, some of which they acted on and some of which they tabled at the city council meeting Jan. 14. Here are the highlights of the Council meeting:
Wadena commissioners voted three to two to rescind their approval for Auditor/Treasurer Judy Taves to hire an accountant to fill a vacancy due to a June 2013 retirement, and a part-time vacancy that occurred nearly a year ago.
In the final meeting of 2013, held Dec. 23, Wadena commissioners spent hours arguing, persuading, joking, and fact-checking in their efforts to complete a wide range of county business. In the end, the board voted three to two to buy the former Bob's Auto building located next to the county highway department on Harry and Rich Drive in northeast Wadena, to become the new home of Friendly Rider transit service. The location may also become a regional hub for transit serving several counties.
The Wadena County Board held its annual required Truth in Taxation meeting Dec. 19 in the courthouse auditorium. All commissioners, the auditor/treasurer, and six department heads attended, along with ten members of the public and two representatives of the news media.
The Wadena County Board met with MnDOT district 3 transit project manager Sue Siemers and transit facilities program coordinator Kent Ehrenstrom took part via a telephone conference to discuss the possibilities of relocating the Friendly Rider transit buses and staff.
The Wadena City Council held both a special meeting and a regular meeting on Dec. 10 to complete city business for 2013. The meeting included a Truth in Taxation public hearing as required by law. After the hearing, which only one citizen attended - and he came for the wrong reason - the council approved a budget of $12,460,857 in projected revenues and $11,177,491 in expected expenditures to provide city services. The 2014 property tax levy of $666,182 was approved as well.
The Wadena City Council held a special meeting from Dec. 10 to hear an extensive update on the progress of the Wellness Center construction from Kraus-Anderson project manager Chad Rettke, architects Steve Miller and Michael Brandt, and construction site supervisor Brandon Larken.
Wadena Commissioners agreed at their Dec. 3 meeting to make a decision about the county coordinator position they have been discussing for years. The vote may be taken on Friday, Dec. 6, at a special board meeting.
Wadena County commissioners held a special board meeting Dec. 6 to discuss a set of issues that have arisen during the past few months. However, decisions on most of the issues were postponed until Dec. 19. A major portion of the three-hour meeting was devoted to the Friendly Rider program. That discussion will be described in a news story elsewhere in this issue of the Pioneer Journal.