Yellow Medicine County Sheriff Bill Flaten spoke with Yellow Medicine County commissioners on Tuesday, April 10 about his concerns over the now exhausted coyote bounty fund. Last year, the Board allocated $2,000 for the fund. Since January, over $3,000 has been paid out for bounty collections, leading Flaten to tell the Board, “we’re out of money for 2018.”

Board Chair Ron Antony said that the bounty funds have been shut off after the $2,000 limit was reached. “I support the coyote bounty,” he added, “but we need to take a look at how we give out money.” Flaten agreed, though noted that the budget had been expanded in past years. The Board quickly agreed to cut off the fund effective immediately.

Antony suggested that the Board create a coyote season, and suggested January through April as an option. Commissioner Gary Johnson expressed support for doing away with the bounty altogether, and cited that Yellow Medicine (with the exception of Chippewa County) was the only county with a coyote bounty.

Commissioner John Berends urged the Board to create a coyote committee to evaluate the issue more closely and come up with solutions. Sheriff Flaten said that even without the bounty, people would still hunt coyotes “because it’s fun.” “Coyotes aren’t going away,” he added. Nevertheless, Commissioners Glen Kack, Berends, and Antony voiced their support for the bounty.

Other solutions floated during the meeting included limiting the bounty to residents of Yellow Medicine County and putting a limit on the number of coyotes an individual can claim. Eventually, the Board passed a motion asking Sheriff Flaten to develop new bounty criteria. The new committee will take up his findings before the full Board votes on the recommendations.

In other news:

The Board approved a snowmobile trail agreement with Montevideo Snow-drifters, Inc. The agreement allows Montevideo Snow-drifters to contract with the county to acquire, construct, and maintain grant-supported public trails. According to the language of the agreement, the County is not liable for any costs incurred by Montevideo Snowdrifters, which will operate as an independent contractor.

County Administrator Peg Heglund formally submitted her letter of resignation to the Board. Heglund will serve until January 31, 2019. In the meantime, the Board will work to develop a search committee to find her replacement. Antony thanked Heglund for her service, adding that “there’s not enough that can be said about your dedication to the county.”

County Appraiser Brian Rosenau was recognized by the Board for completing the educational requirements for Level 3 appraising, including a nearly 200 page form report, an eight hour exam, and an interview with the State Appraisal Board. County Assessor Connie Erickson said that her department is “happy to have him on their team,” and commissioners congratulated Rosenau for his accomplishment.

Erickson also recommended that the Board approve a new three-year assessment contract with the City of Canby. The agreement stipulates a price per parcel of $14.08, a 1.5% increase over the previous price of $13.87. According to Erickson, this is above other cities such as Olivia ($11), Tracy and Cottonwood ($12), and Clara City ($13). Yellow Medicine will assess 20% of all property, and all new construction. The contract covers Canby and three adjacent townships on the western end of the city. Erickson believes that more townships will come forward asking for similar arraignments. The Board approved the contract unanimously.

Family Services Director Rae Ann Keeler-Aus asked the Board to approve a purchase of service agreement with Canby Chiropractic Center. The contract covers urinalysis tests commissioned by the county. Each test will cost the county $50. The Board approved the contract unanimously.

New Finance Manager Lacey Rigge went over finances from the 2017 budget with commissioners. She said that there were currently $8.4 million in CDs and bonds, with interest rates ranging from roughly 1 to 2%. Commissioners thanked Rigge for her presentation. “Good job for only being here a couple of months,” Johnson told her.

The Yellow Medicine County Board will meet again on Tuesday, April 24 at 9 a.m.