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Co. Board tables adding deputy

NEW ULM — Brown County commissioners tabled the question of adding an extra deputy position in 2020 on Tuesday.

The added position is needed due to increased calls for service. Transport times increased since the New Ulm juvenile detention center closed and the next closest facility is in Willmar, then Sioux Falls, S.D., Brown County Sheriff Jason Seidl said.

The number of probation apprehension and detention orders, mandated training and assisting local law enforcement agencies in more criminal cases have also increased.

An entry level deputy position costs $73,683 for wages and benefits, according to the request.

“We also may be called to back up other agencies like Comfrey and Springfield Police,” Seidl said. “We’re also spending more and more time on crisis intervention and serve civil papers for the whole county.”

“I know the challenges you have with more mandates sheriff,” Commissioner Dave Borchert said. Borchert is also the New Ulm Police Chief.

“What about adding a part-time transportation officer instead of a deputy?” asked Commissioner Scott Windschitl. “I’d like to table it until I see 15-county survey numbers.” Commissioner Dean Simonsen seconded the motion.

Commissioners unanimously approved:

• Purchasing four new Chevrolet Tahoe Police Package vehicles from Kohls-Weelborg Chevrolet, New Ulm for $36,159.75 each, motion by Commissioner Windschitl, seconded by Commmissioner Borchert. Ranger Chevrolet in Hibbing bid $37,042.23 each.

• Rescinding an aerial drainage ditch tree, bush and weed control spraying award to Larson Helicopters, motion by Commissioner Windschitl, seconded by Commissioner Simonsen. Larson Helicopters was unable to obtain $3,000,000 in liability insurance as required by the county.

• Accepting a $42.50 per acre bid for aerial spraying by Scott’s Helicopter Service, Le Sueur, motion by Commissioner Simonsen, seconded by Commissioner Berg.

• Awarding the CSAH 7 shoulder widen and regrade project to Mathiowetz Construction for $1,303,485.09. It is 5.18 percent over the engineer’s estimate, motion by Commissioner Berg, seconded by Commissioner Simonsen.

The project includes CSAH 7 from the Cobden railroad tracks to CSAH 31 in Evan. The project is set to begin on or before Aug. 5 and take up to 60 working days to complete.

• A Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) presentation on the District 7 10-year Capital Highway Investment Plan (CHIP).

Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) District 7 Engineer Greg Aus said a $25 million grant is sought for the U.S. Highway 14 four-lane project between New Ulm and Nicollet.

“There are three projects seeking the grant. The other two are one on I-90 and U.S. Highway 52 near Rochester and I-94 between Monticello and Albertville,” Aus said. “We’ll know who is successful on Nov. 14.”

Commissioner Windschitl said he wrote a letter in favor of the Highway 14 project.

Aus said some of the New Ulm Gateway project is going well and some of it isn’t.

“The Minnesota River (flooding) is a challenge. Some work has been pushed back because we need to get into the river,” Aus said. “The Highway 14/15 bridge is ahead of schedule. We plan to do paving next week. The shorter detour may open again in mid to late August.”

Aus praised the sheriff’s office for its recent enforcement work on the Toward Zero Death project that included looking for distracted drivers and those failing to yield to people in crosswalks.

• Tabled for more information establishment of a 2020 Census Complete Count Committee, motion by Commissioner Simonsen, seconded by Commissioner Borchert.

U.S. Census Bureau Minnesota Partnership Specialist Jim Accurso said census surveys will no longer all be on paper. People will have the option to it online or by phone, talking to a real person.

“Census workers will knock on doors next April. You can request a paper questionnaire if you want one,” Accurso said. “Many children under age five are missed in the census. The last census had an 18 percent no response rate in Sleepy Eye. There is a lot at stake, “

• A Fifth District Drug Court Surveillance contract, motion by Commissioner Simonsen, seconded by Commissioner Windschitl. The $10,500 budget for Brown and Nicollet County in fiscal year 2020 and 2021 includes $14,800 for district court.

• An updated Brown County Solid Waste Plan and resolution as required for Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) approval, motion by Commissioner Simonsen, seconded by Commissioner Berg.

• Accepting the resignation of Brown County License Bureau Supervisor Sue Jensen as of July 26 and delay posting the vacancy for future consideration, motion by Commmissioner Windschitl, seconded by Commissioner Berg. Jensen began working for Brown County on Dec. 10, 1991.

(Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com).

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