Kittson County Board Minutes May 19 and May 26, 2020

KITTSON COUNTY BOARD PROCEEDINGS
May 19, 2020
The Kittson County Board of Commissioners met, pursuant to adjournment on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. All members were present.
The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Gillie. The pledge to the flag was given.
A motion was made by Commissioner Johnson, seconded by Commissioner Olson and unanimously carried to approve the agenda as presented.
A motion was made by Commissioner Younggren, seconded by Commissioner Johnson and unanimously carried to approve the minutes from the May 5, 2020 County Board meeting as presented.
A motion was made by Commissioner Olson, seconded by Commissioner Younggren and unanimously carried to approve the minutes from the May 12, 2020 County Board meeting as presented.
At 9:02 a.m. the Kittson County Board of Commissioners convened a public hearing on the proposed tax abatement for Carr Properties. The tax abatement would be for the County’s share of the property tax increase and would be for 10 years.
A motion was made by Commissioner Johnson and seconded by Commissioner Younggren to adopt the following resolution:     #20-22
AUTHORIZING A TAX ABATEMENT
ON PROPERTY WITHIN THE
CITY OF HALLOCK,
KITTSON COUNTY FOR THE
PURPOSE OF ASSISTING
WITH TOWNHOMES CONSTRUCTED BY CARR PROPERTIES, LLC
WHEREAS, the County Board of Kittson County, Minnesota (the “County”), determined a need to grant a property tax abatement to the property in the City of Hallock, Minnesota described in Exhibit A hereto (the “Property”) owned by Carr Properties LLC (the “Improvements”), pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, Sections 469.1812 to 469.1815 (the “Act”); and
WHEREAS, the County has conducted a duly noticed public hearing on the Abatement (as hereinafter defined) at which the views of all interested persons were heard; and
WHEREAS, under the Act, the County is authorized to retain abatements from property in order to reimburse for certain improvements to the property; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the County Board of Kittson County, Minnesota, as follows:
1. Findings. The County Board finds that the benefits to the County from the Abatement will be at least equal to the costs to the County of the Abatement, because the Improvements will benefit the Properties that are the source of the Abatement and that therefore the Abatement is in public interest; and specifically finds and determines that the Abatement is expected to result in a public benefit because the Improvements will facilitate the construction of a new housing services in the City and County, secure significant private investment, expand employment opportunities in the construction industry, and tax base.
2. Abatement. Subject to the provisions of the Act, the County Board hereby authorizes the Abatement in the annual amount equal to 100% of the County tax generated by the townhome construction, estimated to be $7,500 over the life to the abatement, subject to following terms and conditions:
(a) The term “Abatement” means the real property taxes generated in any tax-payable year by extending the County’s total tax rate for that year against the tax capacity of the Property as of January 2 in the prior year.
(b) The term of the abatement shall be ten (10) years, commending in 2021 and continuing through 2030.
(c) In accordance with Section 469.1813, subdivision 8 of the Act, in no case shall the Abatement, together with all other abatements approved by the County under the Act and paid in any one year, exceed the greater of 10% of the County’s tax capacity for that year or $200,000.
(d)     In accordance with Section 469.1815 of the Act, the County will add to its levy in each year during the term of the Abatement the total estimated amount of current year Abatement granted under this resolution. The County Auditor or Administrator shall estimate the amount of tax abatement to be generated and shall add such amount to the County’s levy.
3. Actions Ratified. The Board hereby ratifies all actions of the County’s staff and consultants in arranging for approval of this resolution in accordance with the Act.
Voting in favor: Commissioners Gillie, Johnson, Olson, Wikstrom and Younggren.
Voting against: None
A motion was made by Commissioner Wikstrom and seconded by Commissioner Johnson to adopt the following resolution:     #20-23
CREATING A TAX ABATEMENT
POLICY FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENCOURAGING THE
CONSTRUCTION OF NEW HOUSING
IN KITTSON COUNTY
WHEREAS, the County Board of Kittson County, Minnesota (the “County”), has determined that a need for housing exists in Kittson County; and
WHEREAS, the County has conducted a duly noticed public hearing on a proposed tax abatement policy (a copy of which is on file with the County Administrator) at which the views of all interested persons were heard; and
WHEREAS, under the Act, the County is authorized to use tax abatements from the development of new housing projects to help reimburse the costs of constructing new housing;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the County Board of Kittson County, Minnesota, that the Kittson County Tax Abatement Policy be hereby adopted
Voting in favor: Commissioners Gillie, Johnson, Olson, Wikstrom and Younggren.
Voting against: None
A motion was made by Commissioner Younggren, seconded by Commissioner Olson and unanimously carried to approve the payment of the following amounts, with a detailed listing kept on file in the Finance Office:
Auditor’s Warrants
May 15, 2020    $  96,235.52
March 20, 2020    $       283.28
March 20, 2020    $    2,713.63
May 8, 2020    $ 166,111.95
May 18, 2020    $  75,225.35
Commissioner’s Warrants
May 19, 2020    $ 89,662.70
Meal Reimbursements:    $0.00
Committee Reports were given.
County Administrator Christensen updated the County Board on other state legislature activity. He noted that the legislature ended its session without taking action on several pieces of legislation including the bonding bill. Christensen expects a special session will be called for by the Governor sometime in June.
County Administrator Christensen informed the County Board that in response to a question from the last board meeting, the County could request a renewal quote for health insurance this fall to get the County’s health insurance on a calendar year basis. The County should be able to receive a quote before having to make a decision. No action is required at this time.
The County Board discussed plans to reopen county buildings. County Administrator Christensen addressed the matter by saying that protective measures and procedures have been put into place and the courthouse is as prepared as it can be. It is just a matter of what the County Board wishes to do.
A motion was made by Commissioner Johnson, seconded by Commissioner Wikstrom and unanimously carried to approve reopening the county offices with restrictions effective May 26, 2020.
At 9:31 a.m. the Kittson County Board of Commissioners convened a public hearing on the proposed housing development tax abatement policy. The policy would encourage housing development in Kittson County by providing an abatement on the County’s share of the property taxes for a period not to exceed 10 years.
A motion was made by Commissioner Wikstrom and seconded by Commissioner Johnson to adopt the following resolution:    #20-23
CREATING A TAX ABATEMENT
POLICY FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENCOURAGING THE
CONSTRUCTION OF NEW HOUSING
IN KITTSON COUNTY
WHEREAS, the County Board of Kittson County, Minnesota (the “County”), has determined that a need for housing exists in Kittson County; and
WHEREAS, the County has conducted a duly noticed public hearing on a proposed tax abatement policy (a copy of which is on file with the County Administrator) at which the views of all interested persons were heard; and
WHEREAS, under the Act, the County is authorized to use tax abatements from the development of new housing projects to help reimburse the costs of constructing new housing;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the County Board of Kittson County, Minnesota, that the Kittson County Tax Abatement Policy be hereby adopted
Voting in favor: Commissioners Gillie, Johnson, Olson, Wikstrom and Younggren.
Voting against: None
The County Board set May 27 at 1:00 p.m. as the date and time for the Personnel Committee to meet with I.U.O.E Local 49 on a new labor contract.
A motion was made by Commissioner Olson, seconded by Commissioner Wikstrom and unanimously carried to accept the resignation letter from County Administrator Eric Christensen effective June 19, with regret. Christensen is taking a position as City Administrator for the City of North Sioux City, South Dakota in order to get closer to family.
Meeting with the County Board via GoToMeeting was Keith Klegstad, Kittson County Assistant Engineer. Klegstad began by providing an update on the status of the 2020 construction projects. He then discussed the status of the flood cleanup efforts. Right now all debris has been removed from the roads and shoulders. Debris should be removed from the ditches in the next few weeks. Due to dry conditions, the Department will be ceasing burning the debris piles  Klegstad also updated the County Board on the status of the search for a new County Engineer. He has contacted 2 of the applicants who appear to meet the qualifications and can take the Professional Engineer exam within a year. Discussion was had concerning a recommendation from Lou Tasa with MnDOT that perhaps the County should increase the pay range and advertise longer. Board consensus was that the current applicants should be interviewed before deciding whether there is a need to advertise again.
A motion was made by Commissioner Wikstrom, seconded by Commissioner Johnson and unanimously carried to approve to accept the quote of $34,742.75 from Knife River Materials for dust control application on CSAH 25. It was the only quote received.
A motion was made by Commissioner Olson, seconded by Commissioner Johnson and unanimously carried (with Commissioner Wikstrom abstaining) to approve a utility permit for Wikstrom Telephone to install fiber optic cable in various locations around the county.
A motion was made by Commissioner Olson, seconded by Commissioner Younggren and unanimously carried to accept the quote of $48,827.90 from Traffic Marking Systems for highway striping. A quote of $59,244.12 was also received.
At 10:36 a.m. a motion was made by Commissioner Olson, seconded by Commissioner Johnson and unanimously carried to close the meeting pursuant to Minnesota Statute 13D.05 Subd. 3 for purposes of discussing the performance of an employee subject to the authority of the County Board.
At 11:02 a.m. a motion was made by Commissioner Olson, seconded by Commissioner Johnson and unanimously carried to open the meeting.
A motion was made by Commissioner Younggren, seconded by Commissioner Johnson and unanimously carried to appoint Shirley Swenson as Interim County Administrator effective June 20, 2020 with a temporary pay increase of $12 per hour.
A motion was made by Commissioner Wikstrom, seconded by Commissioner Olson and unanimously carried to authorize County Administrator Christensen to get proposals to do an executive search for a new County Administrator.
A motion was made by Commissioner Younggren, seconded by Commissioner Johnson and unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting.
The Board adjourned to May 26, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.
Theresia Gillie, CHAIRMAN
ATTEST:        Eric Christensen,
Kittson County Administrator
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KITTSON COUNTY BOARD
PROCEEDINGS
May 26, 2020
The Kittson County Board of Commissioners met, pursuant to adjournment on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. All members were present.
The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Gillie. The pledge to the flag was given.
A motion was made by Commissioner Younggren, seconded by Commissioner Johnson and unanimously carried to approve the agenda as presented.
County Administrator Christensen updated the County Board on the status of the reopening. All employees but one had returned to work. Even though we are requiring the public to make appointments in order to avoid crowds and maintain social distancing, there were already a large number of people coming in to the driver’s license department without appointments. Christensen informed the County Board that it may become necessary to lock the exterior doors if it continues to be a problem. The County Board discussed return to work requirements once the Governor’s stay at home orders expire this weekend. The County Board expressed their desire that all employees return to work. The Board decided that unless there are exceptions required for genuine health risks or other Covid-19 related issues, work is to be performed at the courthouse. People with health risks will need to provide medical documentation the same as what is required for an extended absence.
County Administrator Christensen provided an update on the search for an executive search company. He has been in contact with 2 companies that would provide all of the services, promotion and screening of applicants similar to the last search in 2012. The cost will be approximately $20,000. Christensen also informed the County Board that one of the executive recruiters he spoke with suggested that the Board not try to hire someone with both finance/administration and computer backgrounds because they might not get a good selection of candidates. Instead they should look at solving the 2 problems separately. Christensen reassured the Board that he would hold on to a few duties through the transition in order to assure a smooth change over.
The Board adjourned to June 2, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.
Theresia Gillie, CHAIRMAN
ATTEST:        Eric Christensen,
Kittson County Administrator
(June 10, 2020)
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