YMC Board begins new year

GRANITE FALLS – The first meeting of the Yellow Medicine County Board began with 8th District Court Judge Dwayne Knutsen administering the oath of office to four Yellow Medicine County commissioners who won re-election to new terms.

Ron Antony, Greg Renneke, Gary Johnson and Louis Sherlin were sworn in on Tuesday morning.

New commissioner John Berends was sworn in late last year after being elected to fill the seat left vacant by the unexpected death of Commissioner Dick Wambeke last February.

The board’s business was mostly appointment of commissioners to various committees and housekeeping with relatively few spending authorizations.

The board voted to set gopher bounties at $2 per gopher and coyote bounties at $10.

The board re-authorized the current level of fees from sale of tax forfeited properties to the county park fund at 20 percent of the sale proceeds.

Randy Jacobson, county planning and zoning director, reported to the board that Yellow Medicine County saw about $12.8 million in new construction in 2012, an increase of approximately $1.5 million over 2011.

The board authorized Family Services Director Peg Heglund to buy a new van for transporting clients to replace the current 2005 model, which has about 120,000 miles on it.

At Heglund’s suggestion, the board voted to enter into a four-county agreement to maintain a Lexus-Nexis genealogical database used to locate family members of children removed from their homes so they can be placed in the custody of relatives. Heglund told the board the service will be paid for with state funds.

Sherlin made a motion to give The Connection in Canby $5,000 out of the Family Service budget, the same amount the county gave last year. The Connection provides a place for working parents to leave their children before and after school hours and arranges transportation to and from school.

Sherlin also asked the board to consider at a later date donating the same amount to the Clarkfield Charter School, which offers a similar service.

Johnson said he approved of the idea but asked the board to consider making a decision at a later date after consideration of which organizations should be eligible, lest the board be put in the position of “picking and choosing” which organizations and communities should benefit from county funds.

The motion passed with Johnson dissenting.