The Polk County Board of Commissioners met on Tuesday morning in the Polk County Government Center. The main agenda items included Jacob Snyder from Planning and Zoning, Polk County Engineer Richard Sanders to discuss a pair of public ditch hearings, and Finance Director Ron Denison for a cash & budget report. The board also heard an American Relief Program Status and 2022 budget report from Polk County Administrator Chuck Whiting.
PLANNING & ZONING
Planning and Zoning Administrator Jacob Snyder brought forth several requests to the board. The first was a funding request regarding a species project for the Union Lake Sarah Improvement District (ULSID) for $8,875.00. Snyder talked more about what will be happening during the project. “Historically, since 2014, this program has been working with Union Lake to control invasive species,” said Snyder. “They’ve been spraying a liquid herbicide annually two times a year. This is the funding mechanism they use to keep their funding dollars in check, allowing them to keep the lake clean.
The funding will allow for the liquid herbicide to be sprayed on the lake. It will reduce the likelihood of someone going onto Union Lake, contracting the invasive species on their boat, and bringing it into a new lake.
Snyder also asked the board for approval to re-award a septic grants fix-up project for Teneille Torgerson after the previous contractor could not complete the project within the bid he placed. Ryan’s backhoe Service will be the new contractor for the project after the board approved the request. After Planning and Zoning deemed them eligible for new septic systems through their program, the board also awarded two more loan program septic fix-up projects to Margie & Rory Simonson and Roger Holcomb. Olson & Sons Backhoe Service will be the contractor for Margie & Rory Simonson’s Septic System, and Ryan backhoe Service will be Roger Holcomb’s septic contractor.
The last item Snyder brought forth was an action for approval of ARP Funding for SSTS Fixups. “The planning and zoning staff had an influx of people applying for our low-income septic system program,” said Snyder. “We have our ranking systems we use to choose which ones we’re going to do, but it’s simply too many to handle. With the ARP funding, we will give them some of the funding while also making them cover 50% of the cost to ensure they’ll take care of their system and have some stake in the game.”
The ARP funding was tabled for the time being by the board and will be reviewed at the next board of commissioners meeting on August 17. A decision will need to be reached by the board on that day, otherwise planning and zoning won’t have enough time to fix the extra septic systems this year.
PUBLIC DITCH HEARINGS
Polk County Engineer Richard Sanders brought forth a pair of public ditch hearings for County Ditches 64 & 130. Sanders was asking the board to order partial abandonment for both ditches. “As part of ditch statute, the landowners can request abandonment of ditch systems,” said Sanders. “This oftentimes can benefit the nearby landowners, and they can request an abandonment of the ditch system if they feel there is no purpose for it.”
The board approved both partial abandonments for the ditches.
RON DENISON FINANCE REPORT
Finance Director Ron Denison spent some time before the board discussing Cash & Budget reports for the department. No action was needed as it was just for reviewal of the board. Polk County Administrator Chuck Whiting talked more about quarterly reports and year-to-date statuses and more about the numbers they see this year compared to previous. “We’ve always been in pretty good fiscal health with those reports month by month,” said Whiting. “They give a good understanding of if we’re trending one way or another and helps us understand the cash flow of the county. The numbers themselves looked very good, and this is pretty typical of what we expect to see at this time of the year.”
AMERICAN RELIEF PROGRAM STATUS
Whiting also updated the board on the American Relief Program Status as well as a 2022 budget update. Everything is moving along smoothly, and there will not be much to update until the end of the year.
Whiting also discussed consideration from the board to refinance 2014 Jail Bonds. “Our fiscal advisor let us know we could potentially refinance the jail bonds going all the way back to 2007-2008,” said Whiting. “The interest rate is projecting a pretty good amount of savings, will have to wait and see for sure because bonds change from time to time, but as of now, it’s looking like a good option, so I wanted to make the board aware of it.”
The total estimated savings of refinancing the bonds would be anywhere from $100,000 to $120,000. The board gave Whiting the go-ahead to start the process and move forward with the refinancing. The hope is to have the old bonds paid off by November and the new bonds ready to go.
Mark Dietz of Facilities spoke to the board regarding a Tri-Valley Opportunity Council Lease to occupy the Human Service Center Space. The board approved the lease, and Tri-Valley will occupy the space until the end of December 2025.
MIS Director Evan Bruggeman approached the board for approval of a County Wireless Infrastructure Upgrade. The upgrade is due to age and increased usage over the years. The board approved the upgrade for $70,055.92 for new software and hardware.
Polk County Environmental Services Administrator Jon Steiner asked the board to purchase a UTV for landfill operations. The UTV ships landfill operators from the office and shop to disposal areas of the landfill. Steiner recommended the Gator UTV 834M from True North Equipment quoted at $23,116.28. The board approved the purchase.
Director of Property Records Michelle Cote gave the board 2020 TIF Reports for the City of Fosston. No action was needed as the item was rather a reviewal of Fosston’s records for 2020.
The next board meeting will take place Tuesday, August 17, at 9:30 a.m. inside the Polk County Government Center.