Commission accepts Highway Superintendent’s resignation

Posted June 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Hand County Commissioners met June 7.

They accepted the resignation of long-time County Highway Superintendent, Ron Blachford, effective July 1. Following an executive session, the commissioners voted to hire Jeff Hargens for that position.

The commissioners also appointed Elton Anson to serve as Hand County State’s Attorney, effective July 1 to fill the position vacated by Jim Jones. He will take over as an elected official January 1, 2013.

Hospital administrator Bryan Breitling presented pay request #19, for a total of $65,914.10, for work completed in May. He said about $900,000 remains in USDA funds for the project. Phase II of the hospital expansion-renovation is near completion, and the 1947 hospital building will be removed by mid-September. An open house for the Phase II work is being planned for homecoming week.

Randy Peck, Weed Department, received approval to hire Lindsay Wagner and Chad Nelson as seasonal workers to spray weeds, at $9 per hour. He was also given approval to get a four-wheeler repaired.

Sheila Coss, Register of Deeds, discussed problems she is having with her Internet service, because all county offices are connected to one modem. Commissioners approved installing a separate modem for the Register of Deeds office, which will cost $70 per month.

Highway Superintendent Blachford received approval to purchase an asphalt grinder for $193,240, with payment over a five-year period.

He said the department is doing asphalt work on the Vayland road, to the south of Highway 14. Work on the Lake Louise road will be done later in the summer.

Monty Thury presented the community health contract. The County’s amount will not increase, and Thury said the State did approve a three percent increase. He gave a report of participation during 2011 for WIC, immunization, home health, etc. There are presently 53 participants in the WIC program.

Thury said that presently the Hand County ambulance provides service to 1,400 square miles, and answers an average of 200 to 220 calls annually, which often includes patient transfers to other facilities.

Sheriff Doug DeBoer gave his monthly report. He stated the evening clerk position remains open. He received permission to advertise for a deputy sheriff, because Deputy Wayne Ames has recruited to go from part-time to full-time as a Miller police officer, and Dani Davis has applied for a position with the State’s Department of Public Safety, Highway Patrol and State Radio Communications. He commented that in each case, the individuals would receive higher wages than they do with the County.

To date, the Sheriff’s Office has responded to 274 cases. There have been 30 non-injury and three injury accidents investigated.

Nehemia Volquardsen, emergency management, reported weather spotter training had been held in May, with 18 in attendance. He is continuing to take training for the emergency management position.

Six bids were received for the camper, which had been the property of the emergency management office. The high bid was received from Lawrence Weidenbach for $1,250.

Toby Morris, Northland Securities, was present to discuss tax increment financing (TIF) for the road/turn lane and engineering costs associated with the grain-loading facility to be built west of Miller. Morris said items to consider were how much money, and for how long. The County would be the “conduit,” Morris said, but the developer is responsible for the financial aspects. “The County’s job is to help economic development, but not take the risk for it.”

Commissioner Jim Iverson stressed the need to reserve enough coming back to the County for maintenance of the road to the facility. The commissioners agreed on $1,325,000 for 17 years. Morris said he would be back for the August commission meeting to finalize the TIF agreement.

Commissioners approved liquor license renewals for the Ames Highway Store and the Miller Speedway.

They also approved a Federal Aid Surface Transportation resolution, to provide proper maintenance of traffic control signs within the county.

Following the commission meeting, the commissioners sat as the County Zoning Board, and approved amending the zoning ordinance for conditional use permits, in which a one-year permit would be given, and a construction project must be initiated within that time, and completed within two years.

The commissioners also canvassed the ballots from the June 5 election.

The next regular meeting will be Tuesday, July 3 at 9:30 a.m.