The Yellow Medicine County board decided to accept responsibility for enforcing the buffer law requirements. Right now the state is requiring counties to make a decision in June, but they have until September to figure out specific policies on how to go about enforcement. The State will provide $143K for the first year and $179K in the second year. Funding beyond that is unknown. According to the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) about 70% of the taxable parcels in YMC are compliant. The Board expects 99% of the buffers to get compliant, but they still need a way to address that hypothetical 1%. Most of the inspections can be done with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) so the SWCD needs to go physically inspect a smaller amount of the ditches and then the county will handle actual enforcement.
The county plans to set up a committee to handle figuring out policies and enforcement. Mike Richter came to the board to discuss his concerns about the Hanley Falls Museum roof replacement project. The roof currently leaks, and the museum board was looking for quotes for a pitched roof to solve the water and drainage problems. Richter had the low bid, but the museum went with Wood Lake Lumber and Trustworthy Hardware. The problem comes from the steps the museum board took in the process of collecting quotes. Originally they had one quote, and were advised by the County board to get at least two. There was some difficulty because not every construction company has the ability to deal with such a tall building. They acquired two quotes, but one was for a pitched roof and one was for a flat roof. The County board advised them to get two comparable quotes. The museum gave the pitched roof specs to the Sawmill, saving them the engineering costs Wood Lake went through. This threw off the comparable quote process. The specifics of why the museum made their decision were not given at the meeting. Richter was advised to talk to the museum board. The museum board had expected Richter at their meeting Monday night, but Richter had a schedule conflict and couldn't attend. The County Board had earlier decided to give the museum $85K to help cover the costs of replacing the roof. The idea was to give the museum some "skin in the game." They were given money, and told to handle the repair situation.
The County board took no official action during the meeting, but will be reviewing the process for quotes and bidding and making sure the steps are meticulously followed in the future. In other news: The commissioners heard a request for the need for two more social service employees. One will aid with the increase of referrals and Minnesota Choice Assessments, which is a tool utilized to help determine eligibility for services. There are currently about 178 individuals that are reassessed on an annual basis. There has been an ongoing rise in new assessment referrals in addition to maintaining day to day client case loads. Other counties reported seeing increases in assessments as well. Commissioner Ron Antony asked why this might be. Reasons given ranged from financial questions, an aging population, but also the fact that assessments range in age from babies on up. An increase in developmental disability conditions, especially among children and those on disability waivers in Yellow Medicine County is reportedly high compared to statewide statistics. The added employee to take on the primary role of conducting assessments case managers will help the current staff be better able to focus time and attention to their ongoing cases with clients. The discussion to bring on an employee dedicated to such assessments was tabled for further discussion. The issue of the need for a second Social Service employee was also addressed.
It was stated that currently YMC is working over capacity with regard to the state of child protection and children's services and the staff is asking for help. The social services director stated a concern regarding the current work environment for staff and that is can often be very emotionally and physically exhausting due to the nature of their work, but largely because of the increase in child protection cases they are needing to take on and the increase in time that is involved. State guidelines have changed requirements and criteria which has increased the need for more time intensive investigations. YMC has seen a twenty five percent increase.