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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune - Granite Falls, MN
  • State representatives hear Yellow Medicine County concerns

  • The first Yellow Medicine County Board meeting of the new year revolved around annual housekeeping and a visit from local legislators, Sen. Gary Dahms, R-Redwood Falls, and Rep. Chris Swedzinkski, R-Ghent.
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    The first Yellow Medicine County Board meeting of the new year revolved around annual housekeeping and a visit from local legislators, Sen. Gary Dahms, R-Redwood Falls, and Rep. Chris Swedzinkski, R-Ghent.
    Swedzinski and Dahms, who also held town hall meetings in Granite Falls and Clarkfield this week, conveyed their expectations of legislative priorities and then largely sat back and lent an ear to the county board’s state level concerns.
    The minimum wage, school bullying, a few tax bills and what might be a billion dollar bonding bill were all likely to be a major focus at the state level, Dahms and Swedzinksi said before turning the podium over to the board.
    Commissioner Ron Antony requested that representatives work to remove property tax levy caps, as those installed at the level of the state this past year partially forced the county into $600,000 in deficit spending. Board members indicated that the timing was awful as this past year saw major increases in health insurance costs, and other items out of their control––while in the midst of a major capital improvement project involving the purchase and retrofit of the new Government Center.
    The board made its case by noting that the situation in each county is different––whether it be to the extent they are impacted by health insurance increases or otherwise–– and that each county board should be able to determine the appropriate time and to what extent it needs to execute its property taxing authority, as it is best suited to do.
    “If you fellas get out of line w/ spending, elections will clear up the matter ... I don’t think the state needs to control everyting, said Dahms, indicating that the board was preaching to the choir.
    “One size does not fit all,” he said.
    Other topics brought to the representatives’ attention included the need for probation funding reform, the simplificatoin of Human Services Administration, modifications to the 2013 changes to the Worker Compensation as well as the need for a substantial increase in Comprehensive Transportation  funding.
    In other news
    • As it was the first meeting of the new year the board took action on a number of annual housekeeping items, including: 
    ––The appointment of Louis Sherlin as Board Chair and Greg Renneke Vice-Chair.
    ––Establishment of a gopher bounty rate of $2.
    ––Designation of the Advocate Tribune as the county’s offical newspaper.
    ––Approval of county mileage reimbursment rates of .56/ per mile and meal reimbusment rates of $33.
    ––And the appointment of five individuals––out of seven applicants––to the YMC Planning Commission for three year terms. Those individuals consist of: Dorian Gatchell, Granite Falls; Mike Hinz, Wood Lake: Richard Lausen, Canby; Charles Hoffman, Porter; and Gordon Ferguson, Canby.
    Page 2 of 2 - Reappointed to the board of adjustment, and the only the applicant, was Tom Massman.
    • Other notable action items include the establishment of a committee to oversee Highway Department equipment purchases and the the reappointment of Michelle Gatz to her post as Veterans Service Office for another a four-year term.
    Comprising the equipment purchasing committee are commissioners Gary Johnson and Greg Renneke, Highway Engineer Andy Sander, Maintenance Supervisor Larry Stoks and County Administrator Peg Heglund.

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