Wadena County commissioners are planning discussions to sort through ideas from commissioners, department leaders, county staff and community members on how to save the county money and benefit the whole county. If you've been holding onto a money saving idea, now is the time to share it.
The ideas should be submitted to county coordinator Ryan Odden by Oct. 24. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also mail your ideas to: 415 Jefferson St. S, Wadena, MN 56482.
“Coming from my constituents, there is concern about the level of taxes in Wadena County and we’re all aware of that, we’re all doing our best to address that so I think this is an important subject for the commissioners to talk about, and maybe we’ll come up with some ideas to address that,” said commissioner Murlyn Kreklau.
The ideas will be shared with county commissioners and added regularly to board meetings.
The board is also looking for ideas on using the American Rescue Act funds. The ARP funds have specific guidelines, which are available on the National Association of Counties and the United States Department of Treasury websites.
On Oct. 5, the board also:
Tabled a discussion on the job description and pay for a records specialist/appraiser trainee to receive more information on the necessity of the position.
Approved a conditional use permit for a duplex on a property near Lower Twin Lake in Menahga. The property is owned by two families and the duplex will allow each family to have separate spaces. The duplex is not for renting out.
Approved a new Mitel phone system to replace the county’s system for $109,921.27. The system is virtual with phone servers at the courthouse and highway department. The information technology department has been saving funds for these types of technology costs, and the recorder’s office compliance fund and a labor credit from technology provider Marco, LLC will also help cover the cost.
Approved a charter for a new committee about the Conservation Fund land in Wadena County. The land is 3,520 acres the Conservation Fund purchased from Potlatch to continue the land as a working forest. The county hopes to show interest through forming the committee and continuing conversations on the possibility of the county purchasing the land. Deana Malone said funds for purchasing the land would have to come from grants or other sources. The other buyer would likely be the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The sale is not expected for about 10 years. The committee will research the possibility, including timber revenue. Two community members, logging company owner Marcus Edin and retired forester Joel Holden, will be on the committee. A per diem meeting rate and mileage costs covered for those two members have not been set. Commissioners Kreklau, Jon Kangas, Malone, auditor-treasurer Heather Olson and a soil and water conservation district member will also be on the committee.
Accepted the termination of the food, pools and lodging delegation agreement between Wadena County Public Health and the Minnesota Department of Health. Public Health director Cindy Pederson said the program requirements have increased and have been difficult during the pandemic. MDH will run the licensing program as of Oct. 15. Licenses approved by the county will be good through Dec. 31, 2021. There will be increased fees, which would have come with the county as well, as Pederson said. A public hearing on removing ordinance 18: Wadena County Unified Environmental Health will also be held in the future.
Discussed an idea on consolidating the county’s three northern highway department shops in Menahga, Sebeka and Nimrod into a central location. Odden suggested building funds toward the shop project over many years; the estimated cost is $2.5 million. The space needs and fitting in the trucks will need to be addressed over the next 10 years, according to Odden.
In response to a question on purchasing county assets, county board members and their family members were encouraged not to purchase items since commissioners are part of setting the minimum prices for these items. Olson said family members purchasing these assets create ethically “gray waters.” Another question on purchasing from over the counter sales will be researched.