KITTSON COUNTY BOARD PROCEEDINGS

KITTSON COUNTY BOARD PROCEEDINGS
April 21, 2020
The Kittson County Board of Commissioners met, pursuant to adjournment on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. All members were present via GoToMeeting.
The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Gillie. The pledge to the flag was given.
A motion was made by Commissioner Younggren, seconded by Commissioner Olson and unanimously carried to approve the agenda as presented.
A motion was made by Commissioner Wikstrom, seconded by Commissioner Younggren and unanimously carried to approve the minutes from the April 7, 2020 County Board meeting as presented.
A motion was made by Commissioner Wikstrom, seconded by Commissioner Younggren and unanimously carried to approve the minutes from the April 14, 2020 County Board meeting as presented.
Meeting with the County Board via GoToMeeting was Jason Murray with David Drown Associates. Murray presented information on the City of Hallock’s plan to establish a tax abatement for Robert Carr for a property he is developing. As proposed, the abatement would require the City of Hallock and Kittson County to abate the portion of the property tax related to the increase in value from the project. The County’s share of the abatement would be up 10 years or up to $7,500 in total abatement. Because of the tight timeline, Commissioners Younggren and Wikstrom will work with County Administrator Christensen to draft something to present at the April 28 meeting that could be applied county-wide.
A motion was made by Commissioner Wikstrom, seconded by Commissioner Younggren and unanimously carried to approve the payment of the following amounts, with a detailed listing kept on file in the Finance Office:
Commissioner’s Warrants
April 21, 2020      $121,503.52
Meal Reimbursements:    $0.00
Meeting with the County Board via GoToMeeting was Wayne Altenbernd with ISC, Inc. Altenbernd presented a demonstration of ISC’s Electronic Data Management System software which would allow the accounts payable process to be virtually paperless. The product is similar to one presented by RtVision at an earlier meeting. The total cost of the product is $21,190 which was more than the RtVision product, but the annual maintenance on the software was only $3,793 per year which was much cheaper. This meant that the ICS product would have a total cost of ownership that was less than the RtVision product over time.
A motion was made by Commissioner Wikstrom, seconded by Commissioner Johnson and unanimously carried to approve purchasing the ICS EDMS software package with a total first year cost of $24,983 plus a scanner.
Meeting with the County Board via GoToMeeting was Keith Klegstad, Kittson County Assistant Engineer. Klegstad notified the County Board that many roads were under water and that damage would be similar to what was experienced last spring. The true extent of the damage won’t be known until the flood waters recede. He also mentioned that according to an update from the Association of Minnesota Counties the current stay at home order will result in an expected shortfall of $175 million in gas tax money. This will have an effect on funding for construction and maintenance in 2021.
A motion was made by Commissioner Wikstrom, seconded by Commissioner Johnson and unanimously carried to approve a low quote of $23,238.60 from Midstates Equipment & Supply for asphalt crack sealant. A quote for $25,137 was also received from Konrad Material Sales.
Committee Reports were given.
Meeting with the County Board was Scot Olson, Kittson County Emergency Management Director. Olson noted that flood damage would be similar to last spring’s flood. He cited that the crest of 47.3 feet at Drayton was the 4th highest ever. The waters had also crested at Pembina 50.2 feet. He is beginning to work with townships on their state flood disaster claims. He also noted that the barricade was still up around Noyes with access available through the Canadian Border crossing. Olson then discussed the pandemic and updated the County Board on the status of supplies.
County Administrator Christensen informed the County Board that there are a couple of bills in the legislature meant to deal with property taxes and the coronavirus pandemic. Counties were still pushing for the state to take some sort of state-wide action on delaying the due date for the first ½ taxes instead of having the counties attempt it piecemeal. Chairperson Gillie brought up a resolution being proposed by Clearwater County to ask the Governor to reopen the state due to financial hardship. After discussion, the County Board did not see the merits of the resolution since the Governor was going to likely follow the advice of his advisors as well as the Trump Administration’s guidelines for reopening and the virus had just arrived in the County.
A first reading of a revision to the County’s Federal Procurement Policy was conducted. The revision is to add a section dealing with conflicts of interest.
The 1st Quarter 2020 Payroll report was presented for information.
The Board adjourned to April 28, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.                Theresia Gillie, CHAIRMAN
ATTEST:                Eric Christensen,
Kittson County Administrator
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KITTSON COUNTY BOARD
PROCEEDINGS
April 28, 2020
The Kittson County Board of Commissioners met, pursuant to adjournment on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.  All members were present via GoToMeeting.
The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Gillie.  The pledge to the flag was given.
A motion was made by Commissioner Johnson, seconded by Commissioner Wikstrom and unanimously carried to approve the agenda as amended.
Meeting with the County Board was Kathy Johnson, Kittson County Social Services Director.  Johnson presented a request to hire Mary Olson to replace Melissah Lundeen as Fiscal Officer for the department.  The position currently held by Olson would be left vacant for about 6 months.  Johnson also announced that Northwest Minnesota Mental Health was being recognized for a national excellence award from the National Council on Mental Health.
A motion was made by Commissioner Younggren, seconded by Commissioner Olson and unanimously carried to approve hiring Mary Olson as the new Fiscal Officer at band and grade B32-1 Step 5 effective May 11, 2020.
County Administrator Christensen provided a brief update on the pandemic.  The Governor has announced some loosening of restrictions and noted that the recommendation was to still work from home if possible.  The County Board discussed the possibility and need to reopen the courthouse and decided that it would wait and see how things go on a week by week basis.
County Administrator Christensen also provided an update on the flooding.  He noted that water was receding and that 57 miles of roads had been affected by the flooding.  The only property damage noted was to the Terry Osowski place near Robbin where the propane tank had broken away and had been found floating.
A motion was made by Commissioner Younggren, seconded by Commissioner Olson and unanimously carried to approve the Kittson County Historical Society applying for a Paycheck Protection Program loan.
Committee Reports were given.
A second reading of the County’s Federal Procurement Policy was conducted.
A motion was made by Commissioner Younggren, seconded by Commissioner Johnson and unanimously carried to approve the County’s Federal Purchasing Policy.
A motion was made by Commissioner Johnson and seconded by Commissioner Wikstrom to adopt the following resolution:    #20-18
Minnesota Government Access Authorization
Whereas, The Kittson County Sheriff’s Department requires access to the Minnesota Court Data Services online portal, and
Whereas, the State of Minnesota requires an agreement to be signed by the Kittson County Sheriff before such access can be granted, that the Kittson County Board of Commissioners hereby grants the Kittson County Sheriff signing authority for the express purpose of signing the Minnesota Court Data Services Agreement on behalf of Kittson County.
Voting in favor: Commissioners Gillie, Johnson, Olson, Wikstrom and Younggren.
Voting against: None
The Board of Commissioners conducted a first reading of a proposed policy for tax abatements for new housing projects.  The County Board will conduct a second reading at its May 5 meeting.
A motion was made by Commissioner Wikstrom and seconded by Commissioner Younggren to adopt the following resolution:     #20-19
CALLING A PUBLIC HEARING ON THE APPROVAL OF A TAX ABATEMENT FOR CARR LANDSCAPING AND
CONSTRUCTION, LLC
WHEREAS, Kittson County has determined it necessary and feasible to help fund costs associated with the construction of two townhomes in the City of Hallock (“the Project”); and
WHEREAS, The County intends to abate 100% of the increased County taxes due to the estimated increase in tax capacity of the project area, under the authority of Minnesota Statutes 469.1812 to 469.1815 (the “Abatement Law”); and
WHEREAS, Prior to approving an abatement resolution and the use of tax abatement the County must hold a public hearing.
BE IT RESOLVED that the Kittson County Board of Commissioners shall hold a public hearing on the use of tax abatement to help fund costs associated with the construction of two townhomes in the City of Hallock at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at the Kittson County Courthouse.  Staff is directed to publish notice of this hearing as required by Abatement Law.
Voting in favor: Commissioners Gillie, Johnson, Olson, Wikstrom and Younggren.
Voting against: None
A motion was made by Commissioner Younggren and seconded by Commissioner Johnson to adopt the following resolution:     #20-20
CALLING A PUBLIC HEARING ON THE APPROVAL OF A HOUSING TAX ABATEMENT POLICY FOR
KITTSON COUNTY
WHEREAS, Kittson County has determined there is a need for new housing in Kittson County; and
WHEREAS, Kittson County desires to establish a policy to encourage new housing projects in Kittson County by means of tax abatements; and
WHEREAS, Prior to approving this policy the County must hold a public hearing.
BE IT RESOLVED that the Kittson County Board of Commissioners shall hold a public hearing on the adoption of a housing tax abatement policy to help fund costs associated with new home construction in Kittson County at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at the Kittson County Courthouse.  Staff is directed to publish notice of this hearing as required by Abatement Law.
Voting in favor: Commissioners Gillie, Johnson, Olson, Wikstrom and Younggren.
Voting against: None
County Administrator Christensen provided an update on the status of property tax legislation.  Several counties in Minnesota have enacted some form of action postponing the tax due date of May 15 due to the coronavirus.  State legislators are considering legislation that would push the due date for state assessed taxes back to July 15.  Christensen noted that the Association of Minnesota Counties was seeking a uniform state-wide postponement from the legislature but that was not going to happen.  If the state adopts a postponement, Kittson County would likely have to follow suit due to limitations in the County’s tax software caused by creating 2 different due dates for the same tax payment.
Christensen also provided information on efforts by the legislature to change voting rules due to the pandemic.  He noted that many counties were hoping for a 100% vote by mail option like what North Dakota has recently adopted to deal with pandemic concerns, but Senate Republicans will not consider it.  Currently Kittson County has 37 of 39 precincts voting by mail ballot.  Christensen has sent correspondence to legislators asking for a change in the statutes governing mail balloting for years.  Senate Republicans will not expand the rules to allow the remaining 2 precincts to vote by mail (even on a temporary basis) which creates extra costs for the County and the cities of Hallock and Karlstad because of voting machine maintenance, software upgrades, extra election judge costs, and increased training requirements.  He concluded by saying that he was looking at what could be done within current statutes to keep voters save should the pandemic continue.
The Board adjourned to May 5, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.
Theresia Gillie, CHAIRMAN
ATTEST:                Eric Christensen,
Kittson County Administrator
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KITTSON COUNTY BOARD
PROCEEDINGS
May 5, 2020
The Kittson County Board of Commissioners met, pursuant to adjournment on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. All members were present via GoToMeeting.
The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Gillie. The pledge to the flag was given.
A motion was made by Commissioner Wikstrom, seconded by Commissioner Younggren and unanimously carried to approve the agenda as presented.
A motion was made by Commissioner Olson, seconded by Commissioner Johnson and unanimously carried to approve the minutes from the April 21, 2020 County Board meeting as presented.
A motion was made by Commissioner Wikstrom, seconded by Commissioner Olson and unanimously carried to approve the minutes from the April 28, 2020 County Board meeting as presented.
A motion was made by Commissioner Wikstrom, seconded by Commissioner Younggren and unanimously carried to approve the payment of the following amounts, with a detailed listing kept on file in the Finance Office:
Auditor’s Warrants
March 26, 2020    $570.81
April 2, 2020    $3,183.99
April 13, 2020    4665.78
April 16, 2020    $1617.49
April 17, 2020    $177,027.06
April 20, 2020    $4,363.75
April 24, 2020    $3,662.54
April 30, 2020    $74,792.35
May 4, 2020    $17,987.80
Commissioner’s Warrants
May 5, 2020    $58,048.55
Meal Reimbursements:    $0.00
A motion was made by Commissioner Olson, seconded by Commissioner Younggren and unanimously carried to approve the per diems and expense sheets for April.
Committee Reports were given.
A motion was made by Commissioner Johnson, seconded by Commissioner Wikstrom and unanimously carried to approve replacing Theresia Gillie with Leon Olson on the Personnel Committee.
Meeting with the County Board was Scot Olson, Kittson County Emergency Management Director. Olson noted there are still supply chain problems getting personal protective equipment (PPE). Olson noted that he has been able to acquire some supplies using his department’s funds. He added that he had to resubmit his previous requests for PPE from the state.
County Administrator Christensen updated the County Board on other coronavirus related news. He mentioned that operations are continuing and functioning normally. Plans are being worked on for eventually reopening the Courthouse to the public once we are able to safely do so. He also noted that the legislation concerning tax payment due dates for the state general property tax is still pending. The County may have to follow suit if shortcomings with the tax software cannot be overcome. The tax software was not designed to split a single tax payment into multiple due dates with one part of the tax bill subject to penalties while another part of the same tax bill not subject to penalties.
Meeting with the County Board via GoToMeeting was Keith Klegstad, Kittson County Assistant Engineer. Klegstad notified the County Board that cleanup is underway after the spring 2020 flood. He also discussed the ongoing search for a new County Engineer. A total of 5 applications had been received and these have been reviewed and sent to Lou Tasa at MnDOT to determine eligibility. Successful applicants must be able to take their professional engineer license test within one year of assuming the position. During that time the County would still need an arrangement in place with a neighboring county to sign off on projects that require a licensed engineer.
Pursuant to published notice bids were received for project SAP 035-614-011 (bituminous paving on CSAH 14 in the City of Karlstad) and read as follows:
Davidson Ready Mix
& Construction    $ 926,562.40
Gladden Construction    $1,021,329.94
Spruce Valley
Construction    $1,059,038.94
Knife River Materials    $1,077,867.49
A motion was made by Commissioner Wikstrom, seconded by Commissioner Younggren and unanimously carried to approve to accept the low bid of $926,562.40 from Davidson Ready Mix & Construction for project SAP 035-614-011.
A motion was made by Commissioner Wikstrom, seconded by Commissioner Olson and unanimously carried to accept the quote of $53,593.49 from TrueNorth Steel for 1,980 feet of culverts. No other quotes were received.
A motion was made by Commissioner Olson, seconded by Commissioner Younggren and unanimously carried to accept the quote of $48,827.90 from Traffic Marking Systems for highway striping. A quote of $59,244.12 was also received.
Correspondence was read. The Social Services Department received recognition for perfect performance in meeting its 2019 DHS financial reporting requirements.
The Board adjourned to May 12, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.
Theresia Gillie, CHAIRMAN
ATTEST:                Eric Christensen,
Kittson County Administrator
–––––
KITTSON COUNTY BOARD
PROCEEDINGS
May 12, 2020
The Kittson County Board of Commissioners met, pursuant to adjournment on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. All members were present via GoToMeeting.
The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Gillie. The pledge to the flag was given.
A motion was made by Commissioner Olson, seconded by Commissioner Johnson and unanimously carried to approve the agenda as presented.
County Administrator Christensen provided an update on the status of pending legislation in the Minnesota Legislature. He noted that the current projected state budget deficit of $2.4 billion will likely have a negative effect on the County’s funding next year. MnDOT is already projecting a 15% decrease in gas tax revenue this year. Most funding for the rest of this year is probably safe but the State of Minnesota is already cutting salaries and freezing any new hires. The State looks poised to implement a postponement of the due date for the state general property tax. The tax system will be capable of handling separate tax due dates by May 15 should the Board choose not to follow suit. Bonding bills are still alive in both chambers with the House pushing for more public construction projects. It is unclear whether funding for the Lake Bronson Dam replacement is still included in either bill. Finally, the election bill recently passed by the senate includes provisions to extend the absentee voting period for this year’s elections. Christensen had hoped for an all-mail ballot option since 37 of the County’s 39 precincts are already mail ballot. For public safety, Christensen suggested mailing out absentee ballot applications to every registered voter in Hallock and Karlstad to encourage people to mail their ballots in. Polling places would still need to be open but should be safer for the public and judges if there is less traffic on Election Day.
Christensen discussed the recent VEGA-2 grant award the County had received to replace assistive voting machines. The County’s current machines are 14 years old. The County had applied for $7,650 to replace all of its Automark machines but only received $4,021.64. The County would still have to put up 50% of the funds to match the grant. With additional HAVA money possibly being allocated by the Minnesota legislature, there is a possibility of receiving additional money which could be used for the purchase. Christensen recommended holding off on the purchase to see if additional funding is available.
Christensen then discussed a recent email he had received from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The email notified the County that it was eligible for a $1,500 scholarship for one of its employees to attend the NACO Leadership Academy. The total cost of the course is $1,995 so with the scholarship the employee would only have to pay $495. The last time the County received a scholarship for the NACo Leadership Academy, there was little interest. Christensen asked whether the County Board might entertain the idea of picking up the $495 employee cost as a means of encouraging someone to take advantage of the offer.
A motion was made by Commissioner Olson, seconded by Commissioner Gillie and carried 4-1 to approve the County paying the $495 employee cost of attending the Academy with Commissioner Johnson voting against.
The County Board discussed the 2020 Public Employees Insurance Program (PEIP) Health Insurance renewal. PEIP as a whole is experiencing an average premium increase of 10.7% with Kittson County’s renewal quote showing an 11.9% increase. The increase is being driven largely by costs and uncertainties related to the Coronavirus pandemic and a large increase in new members in PEIP over the past few years. Commissioner Gillie asked about the possibility of a quote for a term other than 12 months so that the County could get back on a calendar year plan cycle. County Administrator Christensen said he would contact the County’s agent to see what could be done.
The County Board received a resolution from the City of Kennedy abating a special assessment they had assessed for 2020. The assessment had been assessed in error.
A motion was made by Commissioner Wikstrom, seconded by Commissioner Younggren and unanimously carried to go ahead and apply the abatement.
County Administrator Christensen provided an update on efforts to prepare the Courthouse for eventually reopening. Plexiglas barriers are being installed and access to hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies have improved. Employees have been issued masks and plans are being made to implement social distancing. Individual office doors would remain closed with chairs set up in the hallway at recommended intervals. Appointments will be encouraged and staff will be instructed to wipe down all surfaces in between customers. Christensen also noted that there are several matters which had been put on hold during the stay at home order that would need to be addressed: upcoming zoning hearings, the need for a new tax forfeit sale date, setting a date for the committee to meet to discuss the need for a 2nd Amendment sanctuary resolution, discussions with the court system about the location of the law library, the status of the request by the Sheriff’s office to annex the meeting room downstairs for an expansion project, and the need for new work from home rules as restrictions from the state are relaxed.
A motion was made by Commissioner Younggren and seconded by Commissioner Wikstrom to adopt the following resolution:                 #20-21
2019 Notice of Public Sale of Tax Forfeit Lands
BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED, That the parcels of land forfeited to the State of Minnesota for non-payment of taxes, appearing on the list filed with the County Administrator, which have been classified and appraised as proved by Minnesota Laws, 1935, Chapter 386, as amended, shall be offered for sale by the Kittson County Administrator on  WEDNESDAY, June 17, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the terms of the sale shall be for cash only.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That any individual who has delinquent property taxes on any other property in their name is prohibited from bidding on any tax forfeit property. In addition, an individual prohibited from bidding because they have delinquent taxes may not use another person to bid on the property for them.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That no one who could have repurchased a parcel of tax-forfeited land under M.S. 282.241 (non-conservation land) or M.S. 282.012 (conservation land) may purchase that same parcel of property at a private or public sale for less than (a) the sum of all taxes, special assessments, penalties, interest, and costs due at the time of forfeiture, as computed under M.S. 282.251, plus (b) any special assessments for improvements certified as of the date of sale.
(a list of properties is on file with the County Administrator’s Office)
Voting in favor: Commissioners Gillie, Johnson, Olson, Wikstrom and Younggren.
Voting against: None
Information on the City of Hallock’s proposed new TIF district was received for information.
A motion was made by Commissioner Wikstrom, seconded by Commissioner Younggren and unanimously carried to adjourn.
The Board adjourned to May 19, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.
Theresia Gillie, CHAIRMAN
ATTEST: Eric Christensen,
Kittson County Administrator
(May 27, 2020)
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