At this week’s Yellow Medicine County Board meeting the County Commissioners started by giving their reports. The Commissioners discussed a ditch meeting, bridge inspections, a Western Mental Health meeting, discussed legislative news, the Yellow Medicine Historical Society, and the future of Fiber-optic internet in the county. County Administrator Angie Steinbach also gave a report and discussed various meetings she attended.
Outreach Director for Congressman Collin Peterson, Jacki Anderson, spoke to the Board. Anderson discussed some of the work Peterson has done recently and fielded questions from the Commissioners. The main item that was discussed was the Farm Bill that was passed in December of last year, Anderson highlighted some of the major policy points and discussed the DMC (Dairy Margin Coverage) program which expands margin insurance choices for farms of all sizes.
The new farm bill offers deeply discounted premium rates for the first 5 million pounds of milk each year. Based on average national milk production of 23,000 pounds per cow, that’s roughly a 220-cow dairy. The bill was also passed with bi-partisan support, something Anderson highlighted.
Anderson also discussed infrastructure with the Commissioners. Commissioner Gary Anderson had some concerns with the lack of shoulders along a section of U.S. Highway 59. Anderson said she could relay that information to the Congressman's team and try to get work done on the highway but acknowledged it was unlikely to happen anytime soon.
Anderson said that infrastructure bills usually have bipartisan support so the chance of funding for infrastructure projects was a possibility, however she was still unsure about Hwy. 59 specifically. The Board thanked Anderson for coming and said that they would like her to come back more often to share information and answer questions.
The Board discussed potential improvements to Timm Park playground equipment in Wood Lake. The Board reviewed multiple different offers before ultimately deciding to go with Midwest Playscapes proposal for a total of $29,967.75. The Board approved a maintenance plan proposal with David Drown Associates Company (DDA).
Yellow Medicine County recently completed a market study and the immediate needs of the county include an ongoing maintenance plan to prevent further wage gaps, maintain the current pay structure, update job descriptions, maintain competitive pay, and create and ongoing partnership with a human resources consultant to assist with other needs. The Board is confident DDA can adequately meet these needs.
The Board discussed joining a opioid litigation, there were questions about the case and the type of opioid involved in the case. The Board approved to get involved with the litigation in a 3-2 vote, the county will start working to gather information related to opioids and assess damages.
The Board approved an asbestos certification proposal from IEA Inc. for the Clarkfield School project. The asbestos inspection service provides an inventory of asbestos containing building materials prior to demolition. Inspections will be conducted by state-certified asbestos building inspectors, an asbestos sample analysis is performed by an independent, accredited analytical laboratory. A final report will be submitted which profiles the presence of asbestos-containing building material including location, type of material, amount of material, and the laboratory analysis. This work will be performed before designing and bidding out work for the removal of the asbestos.
In Other News:
•The Board approved a transport funding resolution. The Board The Board approved non-union staff market study implementation which will take effect on January 1st of next year. Additional details will be discussed and worked on in the coming weeks in preparation for next year.
•Yellow Medicine County Engineer, Andy Sander, gave the Board a Highway Department update
•The Board approved a Scenic Byway Alliance funding request.