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New temporary worker approved for county auditor/treasurer office

WORTHINGTON — Cognizant of an already full workload and an ever-approaching Election Day, the Nobles County Board of Commissioners approved Tuesday the hiring a full-time temporary employee in the county’s auditor/treasurer office.

During a meeting attended by just three of five commissioners — Robert Demuth Jr. and Matt Widboom are both on vacation — all action required unanimous approval to move forward. Among the motions passed by board members Marv Zylstra, Gene Metz and Don Lissen was addition of the temporary employee as requested by auditor/treasurer Beth Van Hove, who said Election Day-related activities and day-to-day work were on the verge of overwhelming her department.

“I’m finding my employees are unable to take vacation,” Van Hove said, adding that a temporary employee hired for 67 days — the maximum allowed — would help the county get through November elections and “give us the additional support we need.”

County commissioners approved the motion to hire the temporary worker with the provision that the individual hired doesn’t receive benefits. The temporary employee is not limited as to the number of hours he or she may work per day.

In another matter brought forward by Van Hove, county commissioners approved 3.2 beer licenses for the Lao Buddhist Temple for its special events scheduled for Aug. 23 and Sept. 13, respectively. Following that action, Metz motioned to have the temple restricted to four 3.2-beer-license events per year.

Nobles County Administrator Tom Johnson noted that multiple events had taken place at the temple back in 2008, and that it was his understanding that funds were being raised for construction of a new building at the time. Linssen wondered if the temple might be required to obtain a year-round license in lieu of continued requests.

Commissioners ultimately opted to table Metz’s motion to get more information on the matter.

Also Tuesday, the board voted to approve a new legal services agreement between the Nobles County Attorney’s Office and the city of Round Lake. The agreement is exclusively for criminal prosecution.

“I don’t assume this is necessarily going to be a huge revenue thing,” County Attorney Kathleen Kusz said. “It does consolidate prosecution, which law enforcement likes … and I don’t think it’s going to be a large burden in terms of caseloads. It’s going to be good for consistency.”

Under the agreement, the city of Round Lake will pay the county $125 an hour for legal work completed by an attorney and $70 for work completed by non-attorney staff. The deal expires Dec. 31, 2018.

In another agenda item, commissioners approved tax abatements for Ricky and Lori Flatgard — who are building a new single-family home at 21320 Jones Ave., Rushmore — and Richard and Kerri Knips — who are constructing a new home at 16323 Cory Ave. in Lismore.

Both tax abatements come under the Nobles Home Initiative program.

The Knips’ property actually encompasses two parcels both under the same ownership, noted Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp. Manager Abraham Algadi.

“Everyone one of these (Nobles Home Initiative requests) is a little bit different,” Zylstra remarked. “Some of them are more challenging than others.”

In additional matters, the commissioners:

  • Tentatively scheduled a work session for Aug. 25 to review a five-year road improvement program coordinated by Nobles County Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder. Commissioners also plan to schedule a road tour prior to the work session to examine potential projects.
  • Approved an outlet petition that will result in a public hearing tentatively set for 2:30 p.m. Aug. 19. The land in question is primarily in Nobles County as well as in Jackson County, and extends from Alba Gran Inc. to Judicial Ditch 76.
  • Approved a motion that splits funding of the monthly drainage retainer of $200 to Kurt Deter, an attorney with Rinke-Noonan Law Firm of St. Cloud, equally among all the county’s ditch systems. The board had approved an agreement with Deter during its July 8 meeting.
  • Approved a building assessment proposal from Inspec, a Twin Cities consulting firm, for assessment and engineering services specific to roofs, walls, windows, door foundations and pavement services. Inspec, which submitted a proposal for work at Johnson’s request, will perform a varying degree of services totaling $10,600 at Prairie Justice Center, the Nobles County Government Center, the Nobles County Library/War Memorial, the county public works building and the Adrian Library.
  • Authorized the $750,000 approved July 8 in necessary repairs for the Buffalo Ridge Rail Authority to come from reserves. Considering the rail damage done by June flooding now officially falls under a federal disaster declaration, FEMA is expected to reimburse 75 percent of all costs.
  • Renewed a contract with Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center with no rate change for inpatient hospitalization services for consumers requiring 72-hour holds.
  • Recognized the Community Services, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program for achieving the 100 percent club in its recent audit.

Daily Globe Managing Editor Ryan McGaughey may be reached at 376-7320.

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

(507) 376-7320