Fillmore County Sheriff’s Workplace receives coverage administration award

Fillmore County Sherriff’s Office receives 2021 Gold Award for excellence in law enforcement policy management from Lexipol Connect. Sgt. Dan Dornink and Sheriff John DeGeorge are pictured with the award.
Photo by Karen Reisner

At the September 6 Fillmore County Board meeting, Sheriff John DeGeorge explained every county in the state of Minnesota likely uses the services of Lexipol Connect. Fillmore County started using the service in 2012.

Lexipol started a recognition program last year which is intended to help their users receive excellence in policy and online training. “Lexipol provides public safety and local government with solutions that combine the impact of information with the power of technology.”

Policies are updated consistently in accordance with changes in state and federal laws and best practices to ensure the department’s personnel are trained on how to best apply these policies. Departments are measured on five policy metrics and five training metrics.

DeGeorge said there are daily training bulletins. The policy book is over 1,000 pages and this service continually updates policies digitally. Last year they received a bronze award. This year they upped their game. Sgt. Dan Dornink said they hit all the metrics this year, receiving the gold award.

A quote in the amount of $8,715 from Ancom Communications to replace the VHF microwave equipment on both the LEC tower and the Preston tower was approved. DeGeorge said payment will be made out of 911 funds.

The Department of Natural Resources state of Minnesota annual County Boat and Water Safety grant contract agreement for 2022 was approved. The contract runs through June 30, 2023.

A quote in the amount of $3,072.50 to purchase an Identisys ID Card Printer was approved. The printer is used to print gun permits to carry and to purchase. Payment for the printer will come out of revenue raised from gun permit fees.

2023 budget

County Administrator Bobbie Hillery reviewed several changes in 2023 preliminary departmental budgets since the last meeting in August when the potential preliminary levy increase was in double digits. She had been directed to look at ways to trim that budget. Some savings were found in the highway budget in part due to winter road materials on hand carried over from last year. Needed aggregate can be paid for with Local Option Sales Tax. Another savings noted was the restriction of a part time worker for solid waste to just the summer season.

Five other requested employee positions were discussed. Sheriff DeGeorge explained the importance of the addition of a PSAP (public safety answering points) manager position, which he believes is essential for the operation of the jail. This person would be responsible for handling equipment, staffers, radio meetings, and covering some shifts. The cost of another full-time jailer could be in part offset by the cost of a current part-time position and an additional cost incurred to house certain higher classification inmates elsewhere.

Other positions that have been requested, but may not be budgeted for, included account techs for administration and the recorder’s office and a restructuring of social services. All five positions are estimated to cost about $366,000. Another position needed is for Victim Services; this position could potentially be funded through a grant.

Another option to reduce the budget and levy is to use a portion of remaining ARPA funds to pay for some positions. Commissioners have discussed using that funding to put toward the construction and remodel of the county jail.

Hillery was directed to look at other possible cuts to the preliminary budget besides personnel. She will come back next week with some suggestions.

Other business in brief

•Pam Schroeder, airport office manager, recommended and received approval to award SEH Consulting firm for the consultant for the new terminal building at the Fillmore County Airport.

A consultant agreement between SEH Consulting and Fillmore County was approved pending county attorney review and agreement. A resolution was approved authorizing Fillmore County engineer and airport manager to administer the consultant agreement in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration.

•Approval to advertise was given for 2023 construction projects (to get box culverts manufactured) for Sumner Township bridge replacement, Arendahl Township bridge replacement, and LOST county road 107 bridge replacement.

• A resolution was approved for a Zoning Ordinance amendment, Lot Width Regulations, section 604.05 as recommended by the Planning Commission. There was no public comment at the public hearing held by the Planning Commission. The amendment changes a requirement of each lot needing “66” feet of public road frontage or a recorded private easement of not less than “66” feet for access to “33” feet of public road frontage or a recorded private easement of not less than “33” feet for access.

• A telecommuting agreement was approved for Rochelle Schwalbach, child support officer.

•Benefit plans for 2023 were approved as presented and as recommended by the Benefits Committee, including Medica renewal at a 7.5% increase as per 2-year agreement (capped at 7.5% increase), voluntary dental plan, long-term disability, and voluntary life insurance.

•Fillmore County Public Health Advisory bylaws were approved. Jessica Erickson, director of nursing, explained there were only two small changes. Erickson updated the commissioners on SHIP (statewide health improvement partnership) projects in the county. All SHIP grant funds will be spent this year.

• An access permit for a new property access to CSAH 16 for Lawrence Ward, section 19 of Preston Township was approved.

•An access permit for a neighbor (Andrew and Laura Englemeyer) of Johnny and Nancy McMahon, section 23 of Chatfield Township to replace an existing driveway to CSAH 6 was approved. The new access will be at a better/safer location. The neighbor Englemeyer has an easement agreement with McMahon.

• Three permits to widen existing driveways for access to CSAH 8 were approved for Eric Ruen, section 11 of Carrolton Township.

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