Commissioners OK handgun purchase

NEW ULM — Brown County Commissioners unanimously approved the purchase of 16 Smith & Wesson M&P 9 2.0 9mm guns with CORE cutouts to replace existing handguns July 10.

The motion offered by Commissioner Dave Borchert, seconded by Commissioner Dean Simonsen, would enable Brown County to save about $2,000 in ammunition alone, a point that Commissioner Scott Windschitl mentioned.

Brown County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jason Seidl said the night sights in the existing guns have become dim and the new handguns are more cost effective.

The Brown County Sheriff’s Office’s existing handguns were purchased in 2008 with Trijicon night sights with a life expectancy of 10 years. The cost of replacing the night sights is $110 per handgun.

The new handguns use 9mm rounds compared to the current Smith & Wesson M&P guns that use .40 caliber rounds. The cost difference in the rounds is $260 for a case of 9 mm practice ammunition compared to $360 for a case of .40 caliber practice ammunition.

Price quotes are $4,080 from Sioux Sales Company, Sioux City, Iowa, and $$5,360 from Streicher’s, Minneapolis. The items are budgeted for $9,000. Several considerable manufacturing delays pushed the date back. The cost would come from reserves.

Commissioners unanimously approved

• Authorizing Joint Powers Agreements with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, required in the event of a recount during the 2018 primary and general elections.

Governmental units will be paid four cents for each ballot handled in the course of any recount covered by the agreement, with a minimum $100 payment if a recount occurs in the governmental unit’s jurisdiction.

• By a 3-2 vote with Commissioners Tony Berg and Dennis Potter dissenting, adding an addendum to add “other watercourses” to the Brown County Water Plan. The vote came after a motion offered by Borchert, seconded by Windschitl.

Under Policy 6 under the Minnesota Buffer Law, local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) are tasked with development of a summary of watercourses and submission of the list to the local water authority (Brown County).

The decision on what were considered other basins/wetlands took into account whether it’s a naturally-occurring basin and/or wetland that meet criteria. For other watercourses, criteria comes from Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Hydrography Steam Routes with stream types dataset but absent from the DNR Buffer Protection Map, whether natural or altered, that still exist on the landscape and convey water directly to a public water or public drainage system.

Most basins are existing wetlands with large, vegetative buffers. Most waterways are either tributaries to major river courses or extensions of public water courses and/or public or private ditches.

Brown County Water Plan Coordinator John Knisley said the county regards the resolution only as a voluntary program.

“Voluntary becomes mandatory if not enough people participate,” said Berg.

“This could help us get more money for buffers. I see it as a positive,” said Windschitl.

Potter said approving the resolution makes it look like the county supports putting private ditches in buffer system in the future.

Borchert said he supported the resolution as making the water plan as complete as possible. He offered a motion of support, seconded by Windschitl.

Berg called buffers “a blanket approach sometimes put in when there is no problem.”

• Accepted and order filed the South Central Minnesota EMS Regional Program Report by Executive Director Mark Griffith. Commissioners did not act on an appropriation amount to the program in the 2019 county budget but said they would consider it at a later meeting.

Griffith said program funding from seat belt violations has dwindled in recent years, pinching the program’s budget. The program plans and coordinates emergency medical services in nine counties by providing technical assistance to agencies, EMS management consulting, identifying and correcting gaps in local EMS systems, promotes EMS with public information and advocacy and provides low-cost, high-quality training to rural providers.

• The following drainage repair requests and repair payments:

• County Ditch (CD) 1, Section 30, Milford Township, slough, tile outlet, $240.

• CD 38 Section 9, Milford Township, replacement, $974.85.

• CD 5 Section 1, Prairieville Township, blowout, $1,431.55.

• CD 11 Section 26, Stark Township, slough, $240.

• JD 17 R_B, Section 8, Eden Township, tile outlet, $1,271.63.

• JD 29 B_R Section 26, Eden Township, slough, rip rap, $285.02.

• CD 20, Section 15, Albin Township, replacement, $16,400.

• CD 28 Section 27, Mulligan Township, culvert/crossing, debris, $200.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at