GRANITE FALLS – The Yellow Medicine County commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting shared information from the various organizational boards on which they sit.
Commissioner Glen Kack had attended a Western Mental Health meeting where they discussed the high cost of their most recent psychologist as being $160 per hour.
“His assistant was getting $140 per hour,” Kack said.
That doctor has left and the previous psychologist would be coming back. She had been charging $45 per hour, which would help defray the loss Western Mental Health would be encountering this year.
Adult Mental Health had talked about its 2018 budget, which Kack said was “on cue.”
RCRCA (Redwood Cottonwood Rivers Control Area) meeting discussion was in part about its dam liability insurance.
“Western National Insurance Company had been insuring them for $5,800, but will not insure them anymore,” Kack said. “One company that they contacted said they wanted $10,000 to insure them. Nobody wants to insure dams anymore. So, they’re still looking for a new insurance company.”
Kack relayed John Boulton’s report that there are 31 tiling permits waiting to be processed, which has gone up. Boulton is a member of the Yellow Medicine Watershed District board of directors.
“Under revolving loan, there are 26 current loans, zero delinquent, three in default and one deferred,” Kack said. “That’s a total of 30. There were two loan applications yesterday. One was approved and one was denied.”
Commissioner John Berends reported on two different broadband meetings he sat in on since the last county board meeting. One was just an overview, he said, and one was on how grants are awarded.
“Grants do not pay for radio equipment,” Berends said. Then he talked about different speeds and that the take rate (subscribers) needed to be 70 percent in order to make the math work. In some cases, he said, some grants required take rate as high as 75-80 percent.
Southern Prairie Community Care is $132,000 under budget because its payroll was currently down. Its former director resigned and the new director is Will Muenchow, Berends said. Other positions are still open.
Berends also reported on a meeting with Labor Management. There will be a 9.36 percent increase in health insurance. Last year it would have been 13 percent increased if they had stayed with the previous pool.
After a visit to the Charles City white water park in Iowa, Berends had seen more ideas about how to promote the Minnesota River that runs through Granite Falls. He recommended a video on river surfing, which is one of the new ideas. It’s not just kayaks and boogie boards, he said.
Other towns see economic revival when they utilize their rivers for entertainment, was Berends’ premise.
“Their river has spurred economic development,” he said.
Berends had also learned about “latency” in one of his broadband meetings. Latency equals delay. It’s the amount of delay (or time) it takes to send information from one point to the next. Latency is usually measured in milliseconds or ms.
“It causes spinning in video gaming,” he said.
The 25 Mpbs connection rating has little to do with speed, and more to do with how much data you can receive every second. True Internet speed comes down to a combination of bandwidth and latency, not just bandwidth.
Board chair Gary Johnson reported that Prairie Five Rides hopes to open in Clarkfield two days per week and provide rides to residents who do not drive.
Johnson was also happy to report that there was still interest in building a 70-bed veterans home in Montevideo. Johnson said that Mark Garvey and Gary Anderson of Montevideo want to build one.
The conditions meet the requirements: the site is at least 100 minutes from other veterans’ homes and 60 minutes or less from a hospital.
“Yellow Medicine County has $50,000 committed to this,” Johnson said. “It is just too simple, it’s common sense to build one. Like the prison in Appleton — why isn’t it open? That doesn’t make sense.”
Johnson also reported that a consultant from Marshall went to Clarkfield to estimate the cost of taking down the old school building, with or without the gym. Asbestos abatement will play into the cost. He is waiting for the report.
Commissioner Ron Antony reported on attending the MCIT (Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust) meeting, which included the announcement that its county liaison Jane Henniger would be retiring in 12-18 months. It also stated that it would not cover litigation regarding land-grabbing through the buffer law enforcement.
“But it will cover trespassing if a ditch inspector happens to cross someone else’s property,” Antony said.
Additionally, Anthony relayed the message that the Yellow Medicine Watershed District had processed over 100 tiling applications in 2016 and could possibly reach that number again this year.
County Administrator Peg Heglund reported on the need to do something about the recycling containers that receive the wrong things dropped off and seem to always be overfilled to the point of trash blowing into the streets and onto neighbors’ yards.
“Isn’t the recycling bin for rural people only?” Antony asked. “Why don’t we move it?”
A discussion ensued regarding the fact that only the green containers belonged to the county and that the blue ones probably belong to the city of Granite Falls.
“I’d like to see cameras put up and address the people who are doing it (putting out wrong things),” Commissioner Greg Renneke said.
“Are there signs there for ‘No tires,’ ‘No mattresses?’” Berends asked.
In the end, Heglund said she would speak with the person in charge to verify ownership of the other bins so that they can be contacted as well.