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Shutdown effect on county would be limited

Commissioners receive update from administrator

June 22, 2011
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer ( , The Journal

NEW ULM - Brown County commissioners received a state shutdown update Tuesday from County Administrator Charles Enter.

Based on information available Monday, Enter's memo stated the likely effects of a Minnesota state government shutdown on Brown County services would be limited.

Priority One and Two Critical Services will be considered by (Ramsey County District) Court on Thursday, according to the memo.

It was noted that STS (Sentence-to-Service) crew leaders are state employees who would not work during a shutdown.

Since Brown County pays 75 percent of adult STS contract costs, the county would expect a pro-rated contract cost reduction during a shutdown.

Brown County License Bureau issuance of motor vehicle tabs and titles and driver's license renewals would continue, according to the memo.

If certain state computer systems are not available, requests for UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) work and birth and death certificates will be taken by the Brown County Recorder's Office and processed after the state shut-down ends.

Passport applications would be processed if applicants have birth certificate copies.

Real estate records and marriage applications will be processed as usual.

According to a Monday memo from Flaherty & Hood, P.A. to the U.S. Highway 14 Partnership, the Owatonna-to- Waseca bypass project would stop after the project area is secured for safety and traffic continuity.

The Court will consider the Attorney General's and Governor's petitions before ultimately determining what services are core/critical and which are not, according to the memo.

Because a shut-down would not begin until July 1, there is time for the Legislature and governor to reach a budget agreement, the memo added.

In other action, commissioners approved:

A Joint Powers Agreement for trails system coordination in and around Brown County without eminent domain power. The agreement would aid cities with grant processing and help identify lower-volume, paved roads that could be used as trails.

By a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Dick Seeboth dissenting, authorized overtime for up to seven Fridays this summer and fall to get needed county highway maintenance work done.

In a Request for Board Action, (RBA), County Highway Engineer Wayne Stevens wrote that jobs like patching roads to be sealed and seal coating itself needs to be done by Sept. 1 or held off until next year.

He added that there are 703 probable worker days available to do 1,058 needed days of work by Sept. 1.

"The cold wet spring with all the frost boils restricted us from completing normal work," Stevens wrote in the memo.

"We lost a Sleepy Eye position for non-winter months due to budget concerns and will be down another New Ulm position for at least two months until it can be filled due to termination," he added.

A $30,000 State of Minnesota Grant Agreement for fiscal year 2012-2013 for the Brown/Watonwan County Alcohol Monitoring Accountability Program. Funds are used to offset offenders' costs for daily, remote electronic alcohol monitoring costs.

Appealing a Minnesota Court of Appeals decision regarding financial responsibility for more than $70,000 in out-of-home placement costs for a minor child.

Brown County Attorney Robert Hinnenthal said the case involves interpretation of state law regarding who is responsible to pay costs for a child who lives in a number of different counties.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at



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