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Sheriff's office 'not looking to set speed records' accepts grant to buy new boat motor

The Wadena County Sheriff's office applied for and was awarded a grant they will use to buy a 9.9 horsepower boat motor to help in water rescue situations across the county.

The Minnesota DNR boating safety equipment grant total was $2,253. Wadena County officers said the flat-bottom boat the county currently has has a motor better suited for rivers and the new motor would be better for larger bodies of waters, if needed.

"We are not looking to set any speed records, but it will get us from point A to Point B," according to Sgt. Bryan Savaloja. He noted that based on the boat specs, the 9.9 horse motor should be sufficient. He also said they have several boat owners in the county that they can ask for assistance if a larger or different boat is needed.

In other business, county commissioners approved:

• A request for a low-income septic system replacement. A bid of $2,985 from Gilster Excavating was accepted to replace a drain field for a septic system. The fund would cover 75 percent of the cost, or about $2,239 of the total cost. There is still about $22,000 in the human services fund for these septic system replacements this year. The fund typically runs out each year, according to planning and zoning administrator Deana Malone.

• A contract with the Anoka County Medical Examiner Services. Compensation includes $2,000 per autopsy. Additional costs can come from added consultations. There is also a $125 administrative fee per month under the contract.

• The scanning of 73,133 documents including marriage, death and birth certificates for a cost of $41,141.97.

• A job description for temporary election clerks. The county has almost always had temporary election clerks, according to commissioners, but they've never had a job description. The job description notes that the employee may have some heavy lifting. As reviewed by the Personnel Committee, this approval allows the county to post and hire up to four clerks with the wage amount of $15 per hour for new clerks with an additional $.50 per hour for each year of service for a returning clerk. Temporary election clerks will assist with various election activities conducted by the Wadena County Auditor/treasurer's office including: processing absentee ballots, equipment testing, answering phones, customer service, assisting voters, providing election information to the general public, sorting and packing election supplies, mail processing and general clerical duties as assigned.

• Allowing the county to advertise for bids for a Wadena County Courthouse restroom remodel. County coordinator Ryan Odden said they would plan to award bids in July indicating that the work would need to be done at some point within a 20-day window so as not to disrupt courthouse activities more than necessary.