County eyes new impound garage; 3-year contract for emergency dispatchers contract approved

Published 9:06 am Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Mower County Sheriff’s Office is one step closer to getting a new impound garage, and its emergency services dispatchers have a new three-year contract.

The County Board on Tuesday morning approved asking the state to deed to the county tax-forfeited property near the county’s recycling center.

“The public purpose is that would be the sheriff’s impound garage facility as well as additional area for the Public Works Department,” County Coordinator Craig Oscarson told the board.

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“The current renter has indicated he was interested in going through a tax-forfeiture sale,” Oscarson said, but he and Sheriff Terese Amazi recommend acquiring the property.

The tenant must move out by early November.

The property is at 909 11th Drive NE, Austin, and it includes a concrete building. It’s assessed value as of Jan. 1, is $210,800, according to online county assessor records.

Oscarson said next year’s budget includes money to update the site for the county’s uses.

“That ties in nicely with the county highway department and the recycling center,” Commissioner Jerry Reinartz said. “It makes sense to get all those properties in one location.”

Amazi has been asking for a new impound garage for three years, Oscarson said, mostly to protect high-value impounds.

The board also approved a new three-year contract effective July 1, 2017 to June 20, 2020,  with the union representing the county’s 13 dispatchers, Law Enforcement Legal Services no. 74. The union has already ratified it.

The contract includes a 2.5 percent increase in base pay each year of the contract, which is a cost-of-living adjustment. It also includes monthly caps on the county’s contribution toward family health insurance premiums of $1,682 in 2018, $1,698 in 2019 and $1,715 for 2020. If insurance premiums increase more than 4 percent in a year, the county and employee will evenly split the cost of the total increase.

In other business, the County Board:

•Modified the county’s credit card policy to authorize additional county credit cards for the Human Resources, Auditor-Treasurer, Assessor, Public Works and Recorder departments. The cards can only be used for approved budget expenses.

• Scott Delaney gave a quick program update on The Bridge Drop In Center.

“I’m currently manager at the Bridge Drop In Center,” he said. “We have more than 100 people a month that use our facility. We are a friendly  and safe place to hang out with little to no stigma we currently six employees and are open seven days a week for 6 hours each day . We have not had any big problems that we could not handle. We appreciate your generosity in funding for our mental health drop in center.

• Approved tax abatement for  John Bergstrom and Steve Penz of Penz Custom Homes, Inc. for construction of a single-family home on lot 1, block 3 of The Meadows in  Austin. Bergstrom said the abatement program is (exactly why) the business chose to build the home, noting that the abatement will pass on to the new owner and will be a good selling point.

Commissioner Jerry Reinartz said “one of the main intentions of this abatement was to hopefully generate some spec buildings.”

“If this one sells I plan on putting up another one right away,” Bergstrom said.

The project is a single family home and Bergstrom hopes to begin digging by the end of the week, he said.

•Amended a personnel policy that authorizes the human resources director to approve job description revisions that do not increase compensation levels.

“The HR director would like to see one-fifth of the jobs reviewed on an annual basis,”  Commissioner Mike Ankeny said. “The goal in doing this is to avoid having outdated job descriptions.”

•Amend a personnel policy regarding reimbursement of travel and related expenses for county purposes. This “will allow for non-exempt employees to receive their hourly rate of pay for approved travel time regardless of when the travel takes place,” Ankeny said.

•Authorized the human resources director  to sign insurance renewals for health and short-term disability, to sign on behalf of the county for non-negotiated vision, dental, long-term disability and life insurance plans, and to offer a legal secretary position in the County Attorney’s Office to a candidate with 22 years of applicable experience at a wage of $23.7691 per hour.

•Set 1 p.m., Dec. 5, as the letting date for these township bridge replacement projects: 391 in Windom, 2542 in Bennington, 2565 in LeRoy, 3343 in Austin and  L1949 in Waltham.

• Approved a  grant application for funding on CSAH 46 West.

• Approved a letter of understanding to engage Government Management Group, Inc.  for central services cost allocation plans for years ending 2017, 2018 and 2019 at a cost of $5,000 annually. This investment leads to  federal reimbursement for indirect services for the county.