The Board of County Commissioners of Fillmore County, Minnesota met in special session this 5th day of March, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. in the Commissioners' Board Room, Fillmore County Courthouse, in the City of Preston.
The following members were present: Commissioners Duane Bakke, Marc Prestby, Randy Dahl, and Mitch Lentz. Also present were: Bobbie Vickerman, Coordinator/Clerk; Jessica Erickson, Director of Nursing; Brett Corson, County Attorney; Heidi Jones, Auditor/Treasurer; David Kiehne, Recorder; John DeGeorge, Sheriff; Bonita Underbakke; Gretchen Mensink, Republican Leader; Karen Reisner, Fillmore County Journal; Duane Sahr; Timothy White; Mitch Boyum; John Zanmiller; Eric Atherton, Rochester Post Bulletin; Gary Feine; Todd Fraberg; Kevin Beck; Jordan Fontenello; and George Spangler.
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
On motion by Lentz and seconded by Prestby, the Board unanimously approved the amended agenda.
On motion by Dahl and seconded by Lentz, the Board unanimously approved the following Consent
1. February 26, 2019 County Board minutes as presented.
2. Gambling permit for Lanesboro Clay Dusters for raffle.
3. Successful completion of probation for Christina Bothun, Social Worker, effective March 30, 2019 as recommended by the Social Services Manager.
4. Merit increase for Christina Bothun, Social Worker, to Grade 12/Step 2 effective March 30, 2019 as recommended by the Social Services Manager.
5. Merit increase for Traci Corson, Social Worker, to Grade 12/Step 3 effective March 27, 2019 as recommended by the Social Services Manager.
On motion by Lentz and seconded by Dahl, the Board unanimously approved payment of the following Commissioner warrants:
The Auditor's warrants were reviewed.
Jessica Erickson, Director of Nursing, was present.
On motion by Dahl and seconded by Prestby, the Board unanimously approved the Consumer Support Grant Application.
On motion by Dahl and seconded by Prestby, the Board unanimously supports Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) and the effort from Local Public Health Agencies (LPHA) for continuing to obtain it.
Bobbie Vickerman, County Coordinator, was present and gave an update on the Taxpayer Services restructuring project as far as painting and room transitions that have occurred so far.
A review of the calendar was done with the following committee reports and announcements given:
Dahl and Vickerman – Facilities - reviewed the items discussed at the meeting.
Bakke - One Watershed, One Plan - plan in place, evolving and working on continued funding;
Planning Commission – approved conditional use permits for communication towers, discussed renewable energy ordinances, discussed CER restrictions, noting that some of the new Planning Commission members would like to loosen up restrictions; however, Bakke noted that Fillmore County is one of the less restrictive counties. March 28th will be the next hearing for the renewable energy ordinance and other discussions.
Citizens input portion of the meeting opened at 9:35 a.m.
Bonita Underbakke – Holt Township – she asked the Board to revisit the opportunity to allow the DNR to access the County land for an effective strategy to address the largest concentration of Chronic Waste Disease (CWD) positive tests. Reviewed how the sharp shooters have successful experience in removing diseased deer at Fort Snelling. She asked the Board to allow a controlled removal process.
George Spangler – Chatfield resident – discussed current efforts by State Wildlife officials to control the CWD issue. As a retired Professor of Fish and Wildlife, Spangler discussed how the disease is spread. Preventing the contact of diseased and non-diseased animals is the only way to solve the issue. In a letter provided, he outlined his talking points. Spangler urges the Board to rescind the action taken on February 26, 2019 and to move forward working with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
John Zanmiller – Volunteer for the Bluffland Whitetails Association – CWD affects the value of recreational value. It was noted that based upon real estate agents, that there could be up to a 15% decline in the values where an animal epidemic is in place.
Mitch Boyum – Conservation Officer for Fillmore County – present to answer any questions anyone may have. The bike trail is 90 feet wide; therefore, not enough room to shoot deer. It also is a cross country ski trail so that is why the hunting is not being done there. Boyum asked the Board to reconsider the decision to not allow the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) staff to conduct disease management on the property.
Commissioner Bakke noted that he sent a packet to the Board members regarding the issues at hand. He noted that Bob Meier, DNR Assistant Commissioner, wanted to attend today's meeting but Commissioner Bakke stated the motion passed at the last meeting would not allow him to do so. The packet that was provided contained the following:
1) An email from Bob Meier, DNR Assistant Commissioner
2) An email from Rob Gross, Executive Director of the State Cemetery on behalf of Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA)
3) An email from Jim Vagts, Bluffland Whitetails Association
4) 5 maps with correlating information regarding location of deer in Fillmore County and issues in Wisconsin
A question was asked regarding what will happen with the meat from the carcasses, it was noted that it will be donated to those on a list and landowners, once tested.
Tim White – A wildlife biologist from the USDA stated the sharp shooters are trained to use shot placement, noting that they aim for the neck/high shoulder as it is safest and most effective with instant death. He also noted that non-toxic ammunition is being used.
It was noted that corn should remain in tubs and not on ground. USDA responded that they bait in the tubs, further explaining that when a deer tests positive with CWD those tubs are removed. Carcasses that test positive are brought back to lab and put through chemical process and then properly disposed of.
USDA and DNR responded to all questions that were asked by the Board members.
Citizens input portion of the meeting closed at 10:40 a.m.
A motion was made by Bakke and seconded by Dahl, to adopt a resolution to allow DNR access to some of the County Farm land for the purpose of disease control on the health of deer in Fillmore County for the time frame of March 5, 2019 to March 29, 2019. The Chair called for a vote: Commissioners voting "aye": Bakke, Dahl, and Prestby. Commissioners' voting "nay": Lentz. The motion to adopt the following resolution prevailed.
RESOLUTION 2019-010: DNR access to some of the County Farm land for the purpose of disease control
On motion by Lentz and seconded by Prestby, the Chair adjourned the meeting at 10:41 a.m.