Jim Hofer to lead Wadena County Board
The first county board meeting of the year is always a busy one. New board officers must be elected, elected officials’ salaries must be set, new committee assignments made. Most of these requirements were completed on Jan. 5 by the Wadena County Board.
Commissioner Jim Hofer of Staples was elected board chair for 2016. Comm. Dave Hillukka of Menahga was re-elected to serve as vice chair.
The four county elected officials and the county engineer were offered a 1.5 percent salary increase by the board, and all five accepted. The officials’ salaries for 2016 are:
o Auditor/Treasurer $70,674.45
o County Attorney $97,133.03
o County Engineer $95,004.00
o County Recorder $54,954.13
o County Sheriff $88,379.60
West Central Economic Development Alliance (WCEDA) Executive Director Mark Hanson appeared before the board to discuss plans for the new Wadena County Economic Development Authority, formed at the end of 2015 and funded in 2016 by a $30,000 allocation from the county board. Hanson asked the board to consider whether he should work on a per-company basis to bring in new business to the county, or work a set number of hours per month. The board did not directly answer that question. Hanson will present monthly reports to the board about the county’s EDA.
In other business, the board
o Reappointed attorney Ryan Ries to continue to serve as juvenile delinquency rights advisory/standby counsel for 2016, at a salary of $300 per month.
o Approved a liquor license renewal for R&J Horse Sales, Verndale.
o Approved the purchase of a software program for the county assessor’s office to help determine the value of agricultural land in the county.
o Approved the 2016 highway department annual requests for quotations for equipment rental, metal culverts, dust control chemicals, aggregate materials, aggregate crushing, bituminous materials, diesel fuel, roadside spraying, traffic signs and sign posts as needed for routine maintenance and operations, in the amount of $583,000 from the road and bridge fund.
o Voted to delete the remodeling of the law library from the courtroom remodeling project currently in Phase 2 of its progress.
o Voted to delete the construction of a giant glass barrier for security in the main floor lobby of the courthouse from the courtroom remodeling project.
o Appointed Hofer and Commissioner Sheldon Monson to serve on the Community Corrections Advisory Board and the Community Corrections Executive Committee.
o Appointed County Attorney Kyra Ladd or her designee to serve on the Community Corrections Executive Committee, subject to the approval of the Advisory Board.
o Postponed the discussion of new committee assignments to the Jan. 12 meeting.