Houston County Commissioners appointed Lucas Onstad because the county’s probationary assessor on Tuesday, February 23.

Personnel / Amenities Supervisor Tess Arrick-Kruger reported that Onstad, who labored within the county assessors workplace for nearly three years, impressed the personnel search committee.

“We see him as a really sturdy candidate,” she instructed the board. Onstad is AMA (Accredited Minnesota Assessor) certified and is “very near reaching” the SAMA (Senior Accredited Minnesota Assessor) stage, “which is the best qualification there may be,” added Arrick-Kruger.

Onstad answered questions from the board forward of the vote. When Commissioner Bob Burns requested the candidate if he “had an issue coping with people who find themselves indignant with their values,” he replied, “I hope we could have much less and fewer. Truthfully, I am unable to wait to face this and check out to determine what’s unsuitable, if there’s something unsuitable, and simply take the chance to coach individuals, as a result of I feel that is a number of our issues … (When) I take the chance to elucidate, 9 instances out of ten when individuals perceive that they’re in a rush to settle down.

Arrick-Kruger stated the posting comes with a requirement that Onstad obtain SAMA qualification inside two years of appointment, and is conditional on approval from the Minnesota Income Commissioner. Onstad beforehand held the place on a provisional foundation through the analysis.

In different employees information, the board met behind closed doorways to debate “collective bargaining technique … and (of) consideration of collective bargaining proposals,” then voted in favor of approval of a 2021-2023 contract with Regulation Enforcement Labor Companies Inc., Native 415 (the Accepted Lieutenants Unit). This pact leaves potential wage adjustments open for 2022 and 2023, however units the hourly wage for 2021 at $ 40.38.

Different votes permitted the aggressive seek for a recycling heart supervisor, in addition to the seek for a part-time (14-hour-a-week) workplace assistant within the Division of Environmental Companies.

Houston County Director of Public Well being John Pugleasa instructed council first-dose COVID-19 vaccinations stood at 23.1% amongst county residents (as of February 22). This locations Houston County within the high 10 for the state of Minnesota, he added.

“For us, as of Friday, Houston County Public Well being had given 1,470 first dose injections,” Pugleasa stated, “and several other hundred second doses.” Many residents additionally obtain vaccines by way of main well being care suppliers and pharmaceutical partnerships, the director famous.

The state of Minnesota has expanded past the unique group of people that can get vaccinated, with individuals aged 65 and over now receiving vaccines, in addition to youngster care suppliers and people working within the space. Okay-12 educating, Pugleasa reported.

“So if individuals do not fall into a type of areas, we will not present a vaccine at this level,” he famous. “I feel everyone seems to be trying ahead to listening to the state’s announcement of Precedence Group 1B. We do not know precisely who will likely be on this group or when it is going to be introduced. “

Pugleasa additionally reported a “pretty vital” discount within the variety of COVID-19 instances in Houston County. “In November and December, we had – over the 2 months – over 450 new instances per thirty days. And, from February 1 to right this moment, we had 100 … “This modification could or might not be because of the introduction of vaccinations, but it surely’s nonetheless excellent news, famous the director.

Council handed resolutions sponsoring the City of Caledonia (Warrior Ave.), City of Houston (Westgate Drive), Township of Mound Prairie (South Ridge Street) Native Roads Enchancment Program grant purposes. , Wilmington Township (9 Oaks Street) and Yucatan. Township (lower throughout the highway).

The request from the City of La Crescent (Walnut Avenue) additionally acquired a letter of help, however no sponsorship. That is as a result of La Crescent’s inhabitants is giant sufficient that no godfather is required, County Engineer Brian Pogodzinski stated.

The commissioners additionally signed an settlement with the town of Caledonia which has been refined in current weeks. The pact states that the county pays two-thirds of the price of a brand new principal water loop that may serve the brand new headquarters / retailer of the Highways Division and surrounding areas, whereas the town will take the opposite third. The settlement additionally caps the town’s prices at $ 50,000 within the occasion of value overruns. The mission is anticipated to value round $ 130,000.

In different Freeway Division information, the board permitted sure finances adjustments that may maintain upkeep actions according to income, in addition to the acquisition of a brand new compact observe loader for $ 38,500. (together with restoration allowance).

Lastly, commissioners permitted 41 of 60 purposes for the Houston County Enterprise Aid Grant program. These awards totaled $ 302,195, leaving roughly $ 64,000 (much less program prices) accessible for a second spherical of purposes.

The council has determined to supply these grants to companies affected by COVID-19 with a cap of $ 1,000. Functions will likely be accepted from February 26 to April 2, with prizes awarded by the April 15 deadline.



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