$ 350,000 in economic development funds for the repair of the highway 10 intersection at the hospital

Wadena County received $ 350,000 in Transportation Economic Development (TED) program funds on December 8, 2021. The funds are to be used for the realignment of Highway 10 at the intersection of County Road 92, aka 11th Street, a primary entry point to the new Tri-County healthcare facility. In order to access these funds to assist with the Highway 10 portion of this project, a cooperative agreement was reached between Wadena County and the Minnesota Department of Transportation at the meeting of the Board of Directors of the County December 21.

Through this relationship, funds are available when construction is due to begin.

The TED program targets transport infrastructure projects that create economic development opportunities and jobs through collaboration between MnDOT, the Ministry of Economic Development, and local government and private sector partners.

The project aims to improve sight distance, add turning lanes and support the regional nature of the new hospital and clinic, and could help attract 86 new jobs to the site, according to a press release from MnDOT. . The total cost of the project is $ 500,000. This project achieved one of the highest scores among those awarded, scoring 82 out of 100 for its economic development and transportation benefits. The realignment aims to create a better line of sight for those entering Highway 10 and the turn lanes allow for safer transitions.

Consult the complete list of awarded projects on https://www.dot.state.mn.us/funding/ted/2021.

Redevelopment of the expedition

County Council heard from Wadena County Sgt. Bryan Savaloja on a Wadena County Dispatch Center renovation project. Based on quotes he received for furniture, flooring, new technology, paint and electrical work, the renovation would cost up to $ 56,172.19. The board approved spending up to this amount for work it deemed necessary. This project would be funded by ARPA funds paid to the county.

Then, the board approved spending of up to $ 15,000 from the uncharged construction fund to pay for the prison kitchen renovation equipment. They gave the prison administrator the option to purchase kitchen equipment available for auction. They believed they could save a lot of money by finding material at online auctions.

public health hiring

Sarah Ohrmundt was hired as a replacement public health nursing supervisor effective Jan. 24 at grade 56, step 8, at $ 38.57 per hour. This role was filled by Erica Keppers as she served as Supervisor of Nursing and Associate Director of Public Health as Director. Keppers said Ohrmundt was an external hire and brought 11 years of nursing, grant writing, management, master’s of nursing experience and exemplary references with her. All Commissioners were in favor of the hiring, although Commissioner Jon Kangas was concerned the starting salary might be at the high end of the scale for a new hire.

In other actions:

  • Solid waste hauler licenses have been approved for AAA Roll-Off, G&T Sanitation, Hough Inc., Long Prairie Sanitation, Waste Management, Steve’s Sanitation, Osakis Silo and Wadena Hide and Fur. Several licenses were conditional on receipt of payment.

  • Approved fixing the salaries of the commissioners at $ 25,000. This was not an increase, but rather a simpler way of showing in a more transparent way what Commissioners are actually doing. Prior to this approval, in 2021, Commissioners received a base of $ 16,915 plus a per diem allowance of $ 100 per meeting. The chair was also paid about $ 1,500 more. The Commissioners wanted to avoid the per diem amount because in some cases they could attend so many meetings that they could earn significant sums and yet some meetings were only short Zoom meetings. The commissioners felt that while a per diem could be an incentive to attend meetings, they also believed that being elected to that post was reason enough to attend meetings, regardless of salary. Kreklau said he believes he will attend around 200 meetings this year. With $ 128,000 budgeted for commission salaries, the change in procedure does not increase what was budgeted.

  • Approved a 2% increase in elected and appointed salaries in 2022, as follows: County Auditor / Treasurer Heather Olson $ 93,042; Soledad Henriksen County Recorder, $ 75,757; Sheriff Mike Carr $ 109,670. The salary of County Attorney Kyra Ladd is set by a separate state formula among county judges and attorneys.

  • Much of the time was spent discussing the salary increase for County Engineer Darin Fellbaum, as he was just hired about two months ago. The commissioners finally approved a 1% increase in his salary to $ 106,050.

  • Commissioners’ assignments were postponed to the next meeting.

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