Houston County Commissioners met in regular session Tuesday, March 22, from 9 a.m. to 11:43 a.m. at the historic county courthouse in downtown Caledonia.
Commissioners present included Chairman Greg Myhre, Teresa Walter, Robert (Bob) Burns, Eric Johnson and Dewey Severson.
President Myhre called the meeting to order and led the commissioners and the public in the oath of allegiance. Commissioners approved the agenda for the March 22 meeting with the addition of action items number 11, consent agenda minus number four which was moved to action item number 12 , and the previous minutes of the March 8 committee meeting and the minutes of the March 15 working group session.
Blake Luna, representative of KNOWiNK in St. Louis, Mo., appeared before the board of directors to discuss voting security, polling records and answer questions from commissioners about the company’s software and system . Luna shared that KNOWiNK has been around for 10 years and has been doing business in Minnesota for about seven years. He went on to point out that most counties in Minnesota use their system and have used it for several years. From a security perspective, Luna explained, “Everything we do is 100% developed in the United States by people who have been background checked. We do not subcontract abroad. All of our code, all of our infrastructure, everything about our software, support people at all levels are here in the United States. Luna went on to explain that “the company uses off-the-shelf encryption security tools. They use best in class encryption tools available through Apple, Amazon Web Services to ensure that the transferred date is properly encrypted. Additionally, the company is known for its user-friendly software, especially among senior poll workers.
The commissioners unanimously approved the service agreement with Dynamic Lifecycle Innovators, electronics recyclers, as presented by Martin Herrick, director of environmental services. Herrick said County Attorney Jandt reviewed the agreement and Dynamic Lifecycle Innovators agreed to the recommended changes.
Brian Pogodzinski, County Engineer, Icon Construction’s request for approval of estimates for the maintenance of bridge numbers 28520, 28521 and 28523 was unanimously approved.
Four to one, with Commissioner Burns voting alone, the commissioners approved the release of part of the Highway 3 right-of-way from county state aid in the town of Brownsville, as requested by the landowner . It was noted that the land reverts to the landowner.
Hazardous Materials and Reduction Change Order #39 was approved. The total amount of the claim is $8,453.85.
The commissioners passed Resolution No. 22-22 Houston County Right of Way Plat No. 84 for the reconstruction of State Aid Project 028-612-014.
Pogodzniski asked the board to approve quotes for equipment rentals and rock aggregate inventory, noting that these are annual requests. Approved.
Council members approved the purchase of 7.93 acres adjacent to Ervin Barth Airport for $80,036.32. The land is intended for the future expansion of the airport.
John Pugleasa, Director of Public Health and Human Services, the request for cancellation of a total of $51,405.03 in debt was approved. Pugleasa pointed out that the write-offs have no impact on the budget and are old debts.
ABLE submitted a letter requesting ARPA funds for existing employees and the hiring of new employees. ICAN has also submitted a request for ARPA funds. ICAN is a disability-accessible van to move their clients to and from appointments and fundraising to help with incentives, retention and training for new and existing employees. Commissioner Burns recommended allocating $40,000 of ARPA funds to each organization. Both organizations are aware that the funds must be used within Houston County.
The stewards approved Wildcat Landing’s contract renewal as is with Jake Lonkoski. Lonkoski will continue to manage the Brownsville campground. Next year’s contract will address issues that have arisen this year regarding insurance and online registration.
Commissioners approved changing the employment status of Patrick Burns, Assistant Engineer, from Intern to Regular, effective April 1, 2022. Commissioner Burns recused himself.
The next regular meeting of the Houston County Commission will be held on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. in County Commission Board Room 222 located on the second floor of the historic County Courthouse, Caledonia, or via the county conference phone line (312) 626.-6700 and Zoom, enter ID: 994-7297-7175 and password 368422. The public is welcome to attend.