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Brown County Commissioners OK wireless panic button purchase

For probation, county attorney staff

NEW ULM — Brown County commissioners unanimously approved a $4,354 proposal for new panic buttons for probation and county attorney staff Tuesday.

Action came on a motion by Commissioner Dave Borchert, seconded by Tony Berg for 20 buttons including probation offices, a conference room, drug testing restroom and the crime victim advocate and front desk area.

The expense was removed from the 2024 budget process as funds are available in the 2023 probation budget. Brown County IT Director Reasor reached out to the UHL Company of Maple Grove which made the proposal.

Probation’s current panic button system was installed in 2013. Some of the panic buttons no longer work. Working buttons were moved to cover more areas.

Brown County Probation Director Evonn Westcott said panic buttons are much easier to use than calling 911 and that the new system has a low battery alert, while the old system does not.

Commissioners also unanimously approved:

• A 2024 Wellness That Fits contract with the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, motion by Commissioner Brian Braun, seconded by Scott Windschitl. Wellness That Fits will provide annual wellness check-ins with all sheriff’s office staff for about $5,330.

Critical incident and traumatic expense response will be provide as needed for $150/hour, billed in 15 minute increments. A $250 travel fee covers mileage and therapist travel time.

• The Brown/Watonwan Joint Drainage Authority’s decision by a 3-2 vote to rebid Judicial Ditch (JD) 5’s partial open ditch clean-out in Albin Township near Godahl in 2024. Mathiowetz Construction bid $51,376.50 at $2.33 a foot for the project. Quotes were sought from eight contractors. A couple landowners requested 22,050 feet cleaned out.

• Awarding a contract for a 39,850 foot, JD 14 partial open ditch clean-out in Linden Township, motion by Commissioner Tony Berg, seconded by Windschitl. Walters Excavating bid $39,850, $1 a foot for the clean-out.

Several landowners requested to have the ditch cleaned out in Brown County and Madelia Township, Watonwan County. The project is scheduled to be complete by April 1, 2024.

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