Sheriff’s office donates funds to hire 4-H Summer InternWORTHINGTON — The Nobles County 4-H summer intern program will get funded after all, thanks to an unexpected donation from another county department
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The Nobles County 4-H summer intern program will get funded after all, thanks to an unexpected donation from another county department.
Sheriff Kent Wilkening went before Nobles County Commissioners Tuesday morning with a check in hand for $3,000 — money given to the sheriff’s department as a stipend for sending several staff members to a grant-funded training recently offered through the Southwest Mental Health Consortium.
“Most of my employees were paid because it was part of their work day,” said Wilkening, adding that the stipends were not anticipated as budget revenues for the year.
“I think the summer intern position is very important to the youth of Nobles County,” he said. “For the sheriff’s office, it’s a good investment. It keeps the youth busy and it enhances life skills.”
In addition to offering the $3,000 check, Wilkening asked permission to transfer $600 from his transportation budget to cover the remaining balance needed to hire the 4-H summer intern. He said when figuring his 2009 budget a year ago, gas prices were high and led him to budget fuel costs at $4.50 per gallon. With gas at just under $2 per gallon today, he said there were funds available in his budget to cover the expense.
The Extension program had requested $3,600 from the county earlier this year to fund the temporary position. At its last meeting, the county board opted not to fund the summer intern as a budget-cutting measure.
“I have this opportunity to help and I guess this is what I’d like to do,” Wilkening told commissioners. “The county park needs summer help and I wish I could do something there.”
Commissioner Marv Zylstra said he didn’t have a problem with Wilkening donating the $3,000 for the summer intern, but was not in support of Wilkening taking the additional $600 from his transportation budget. Zylstra said Extension would be happy with the $3,000 and could adjust the summer intern’s schedule accordingly to keep the budget within the $3,000 donation.
“I don’t care where the money comes from to run these programs, as long as we don’t run into a budget shortfall,” added Commissioner Norm Gallagher.
Commissioners accepted the $3,000 check and will notify Extension of the donation.
In other action, the board:
l Approved a resolution to move forward with refinancing bonds on the Prairie Justice Center.
Because of the low interest rates available today, the county is expected to save approximately $17,000 per year over the life of the loan, which extends through February 2022. In all, the county will save more than $200,000 as a result of refinancing the bonds.
l Approved the transfer of land recently acquired by Nobles County Pheasants Forever to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The land acquisitions were made in Ransom Township and Bigelow Township. With the land transfer, Wendy Krueger of the DNR said the county will collect more tax revenue from the properties than they had before the acquisitions.
Les Johnson, representing Nobles County Pheasants Forever, said the acquisition in Bigelow Township is important to protecting the water quality for the City of Worthington.
“If we took care of our own resources and did a better job we could alleviate some of these potential water problems,” Johnson said.
l Received an update from Ed Lenz and Paul Langseth on the Nobles County Soil and Water Conservation District’s programs and funding stream.
The SWCD is anticipating cuts in both state and federal funding in coming years, and at the same time the increased workload and new regulations may require the office to hire additional staff to properly serve the residents of Nobles County, said Lenz.
He told commissioners they have a fund balance that will help them get through the next couple of years, and they continue to seek grand opportunities and other funding sources, including partnerships and charging for services.
“We hope that you’re able to provide us with some fund revenue in the near future,” added Lenz.
l Approved the low bid of $4,213,733.94 from Central Specialties Inc., of Alexandria for bituminous surfacing in Nobles County. The engineer’s estimate had been slightly more than $4.4 million.
l Accepted an $84,388 Local Road Improvement grant to complete improvements on Nobles County 6.
l Approved the development of a Campground Host position for Nobles County Parks. Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder said the hosts would be allowed to stay in the park for free in exchange for providing service hours, including welcoming guests, cleaning restroom facilities, picking up trash and perhaps doing some lawn mowing.
l Approved the advertisement for bids for improvements to County State Aid Highway 1, from Brewster to Kinbrae. Bid opening will be 1:30 p.m. May 26.
l Approved a $10,000 appropriation to the Nobles County Fair Association. The funds are part of the $27,500 the county has set aside for the NCFA in 2009.
l Approved a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency grant of $3,121 awarded to Nobles County Environmental Services for exceeding the minimum requirements for feedlot programs.
l Approved a request by the City of Ellsworth to be included in the county’s contract for bituminous surfacing.
l Amended the 2009 Nobles County fee schedule for its electronics recycling program. A fee will again be charged to individuals for disposal of televisions and computers.
l Approved the reappointments of Henry Greve, Norm Gallagher and Dennis Selberg to the Joint Planning Commission, with terms expiring Dec. 31, 2012.
l Approved the administrative appointment of Ed Busch to the Regional Radio User Group.
l Recognized Veterans Service Officer Bill Brockberg for his appointment as Vice Commander of District 2, which encompasses several counties in southwest Minnesota.