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Brown County has healthy babies, high clinical care

April 4, 2012
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - Brown County has very few low birth-weight babies, low teen birth rates, and high clinical care but higher than average obesity and drinking rates, according to a 2012 County Health Rankings released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Data used for health behaviors, including adult obesity, were created in 2009, according to a Brown County Public Health report presented to the Brown County Board on Tuesday by Public Health Director Karen Moritz.

She added that since that data was created, programs put in place to deal with the issue include the Heart of New Ulm, the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), and the Springfield Childhood Wellness Task Force.

"The interventions that we are implementing in these programs are making improvements, but it takes time to see a significant change in the data," Moritz' report read. "I hope to see that number go down in the coming years."

Adult obesity was 31 percent, according to the report.

Brown County's drinking rate above the state average uses data from BRFSS (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey), an average over years 2004-2010, so it's completely reflective of the current situation, according to the county report.

The report indicated that excessive drinking at 21 percent, compared to 19 percent for Minnesota and 8 percent as the national benchmark.

"We are working to address excessive alcohol consumption through activities implemented by the Brown County Underage Substance Abuse Coalition (USAC) in addition to local law enforcement efforts."

Tax rankings

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. topped all three lists of Brown County's top taxpayers for 2012, according to taxpayer ranking lists based on estimated market value, net tax capacity, and net tax payable.

Wal-Mart topped the Brown County estimated market value (EMV) list $9,592,500; net tax capacity $189,530; and net tax payable $370,708.

Other top taxpayers based in EMV were Christensen Family Farms, Inc. $9,503,500; Randy Thordson $8,957,900; Harvest Land Co-op $8,612,500; River Region Co-op $7,226,000; Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing $6,235,600; Kraft Inc. $5,220,000; DM & E Railroad $5,194,500; Stanley & Patricia Seifert $5,172,300; Kretsch Family Ltd. Partnership $4,877,400.

Agriculture parcels are becoming more common in the EMV list due to escalating land values.

Total tax delinquency is $1,128,405.82 with most of that amount being special assessments due to the city, according to the RBA.

Marktplatz taxes

Commissioners also viewed a Notice of Confession of Judgement (COJ) for repayment of delinquent taxes by New Ulm Retail Development (NURD) for Lots 2 and 3, Block 1, Marktplatz 1st Addition (north side of the mall).

Brown County Assistant Auditor-Treasurer Jean Prochniak said the $51,254.67 down payment covers 2008 taxes, eliminating the forfeiture process. Prochniak said a $30,002.82 COJ installment is due Dec. 31, 2013.

Commissioners unanimously approved:

An updated contract from Prairie Restorations to write a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) prairie restoration and burn management plan, obtain necessary permits and utilize experienced staff with appropriate ignition and suppression equipment to burn 109.5 acres of Mountain Creek County Park at $41.50 per acre, for a total of $4,544.25.

According to a cost-share agreement with the Brown County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), signed Sept. 22, 2009, not to exceed $5,950 or 75 percent of total costs, whichever is less, approved practices must be completed by June 28, 2012, unless the contract is amended by mutual consent to reschedule work and funding.

Future Mound Creek County Park prairie burns with the Comfrey Fire Department on an as-needed basis at $30/hr.

Commissioner Scott Windschitl suggested contacting other nearby fire departments to do future burns that firefighters sometimes do without because it is considered training.

Purchasing a $241,155 Motorola MCC7500 Console using ARMER Integration Grant funds that would pay up to $127,000 of the cost. Brown County 911 funds will be used to pay for the county portion of the grant.

Installing the Motorola MCC7500 Console for $40,078.13 by Alpha Wireless, Motorola's authorized installer.

In other action, commissioners received a letter dated March 29, from the Brown County Probation Department to Brown County Administration that Nicollet County commissioners declined Brown County's offer to share a probation officer since they are moving forward with a half-time position that could become a .75 FTE within a short time.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at



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