county declares emergency due to rains | Government


Houston County Commissioners declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, August 24, citing damage to some roads from heavy rains.

These showers on August 7 were somewhat patchy, but caused significant damage to several township roads (washing away embankments and plugging culverts) directly in the path of the most severe storms.

Another resolution was also signed by each member of the panel. This missive addresses the planned closure of manufacturing operations at Miken Sports in Caledonia and calls on Rawlings Sporting Goods to reverse its decision to close the plant and move some production areas to China. The message will also be sent to Major League Baseball and Seidler Equity Partners, which are co-owners of Rawlings.

Bill Colopoulos, health care economist and benefits consultant with the Southeast Service Cooperative, and Steve Sallee, executive director of that organization, provided an update on health insurance costs for the county in 2022 and beyond. years to come.

The news was positive. Houston County will see a 5% drop in health insurance rates next year (an estimated savings of $ 106,378), and has also been guaranteed that any potential increase in 2023 will not exceed 5%. The maximum rate of increase for 2024 is limited to 7.5% compared to the rate for 2023.

“This is the culmination of many years of work,” noted Houston County Director of Personnel and Facilities Tess Arrick Kruger (who has represented Houston County on the SSC Board of Directors).

“Stability is what we need,” said Commissioner Dewey Severson.

Tim Penny, president and CEO of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, also appeared. Serving 20 counties, SMIF typically operates on a budget of around $ 5 million, but has stepped up to administer more than 1,000 grants in 2020 due to the pandemic, encompassing more than $ 12 million in relief funds. .

These included Community Foundation Relief Grants, Emergency Child Care Grants, Grow a Farmer Aid Grants, Small Town Grants, Aid Grants and Loans. small business, and “early care and education grants”.

In Houston County, approximately $ 191,000 went to contractors, child care providers and communities. SMIF recouped $ 11 of investment in Houston County communities for every dollar invested, Penny added.

The most recent figures include 10 loans worth $ 593,000 that went to Houston County entrepreneurs and 107 grants totaling $ 544,000.

“Thank you for the county’s support of our foundation over the years,” said Penny. Houston County contributed $ 3,750 to SMIF in 2021.

County Engineer Brian Pogodzinski has asked the board to approve final payments for a main water loop that will supply the new head office / workshop to the highway currently under construction. Originally estimated at around $ 75,000, the project was completed for $ 52,818, the engineer reported.

Payment has been approved. Houston County will bear two-thirds of the cost, with the City of Caledonia paying the rest, as the loop will also provide water to other customers along the line.

The commissioners also approved a low bid of $ 3,016 from Design Studio (Onalaska) to supply and install window coverings at the new road facility. There were four bidders, with the most expensive bid totaling $ 32,100.

The Board of Directors approved an annual “Invasive Species Prevention Assistance” grant from the State of Minnesota to educate boaters and help limit the spread of invasive species on boat ramps and boat parking areas. The grant is $ 22,653, with oversight provided by the Root River Soil and Water Conservation District.

Commissioners approved two more five-year airport ground leases for Airmen at the Houston County Airport. The lots belong to Houston County, while those who lease the spaces own the actual hangers.

The board of directors also accepted the resignation of jailer / dispatcher Tyler Fabian and began a search for a replacement for this position.

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