Area legislators attend YMC?Board meeting

GRANITE?FALLS?- District 16 State Sen. Gary Dahms, R-Redwood Falls, and District 16A Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent attended the first few minutes of the Yellow Medicine County Board meeting on Tuesday.

Dahms and Swedzinski listened to the commissioners’ questions and concerns before moving on to a series of town meetings throughout their districts.

Concerns expressed by the commissioners included pending tax exemption bills for purchase of ARMER emergency radio equipment, funding for mental health treatment, proposed all-day kindergarten and a proposed hike in cigarette tax.

In other business, the commissioners welcomed new Property and Administration Deputy Timothy Bruner, who lives in the Dawson-Montevideo area. Bruner started work two weeks ago and is replacing retired deputy Joan Johnson.

The board delayed action on a request by Family Services Director Peg Heglund on a proposed hold harmless agreement.

Heglund explained the proposal is basically a waiver of liability to be signed by parents or guardians of children in the system, if the parents want to request disbursal of department funds for non-professional mentors who spend their own funds on activities with the children.

The board decided to delay authorizing such agreements until County Attorney Keith Helgeson has researched the details further.

Heglund also briefed the commissioners on changes to the county Human Services programs for 2014 based on implementation of the federal Affordable Health Care Act, state Department of Human Services initiatives and new performance standards arrived at between the counties and the state.

Among other effects of the expansion of Medicaid, Heglund said Family Services anticipates about 294 new medical assistance cases in the county.

On the recommendation of County Ditch Inspector Chris Balfany, the board authorized Balfany to set up an informational meeting to inform property owners along County ditches 31 and 56 of the county’s intention to employ viewers to perform a redetermination of benefits. A redetermination of benefits was previously ordered for Judicial Ditch 10 and including the county ditches in the viewing process would be convenient at this time, Balfany said.

According to Balfany, a significant number of property owners along the county ditches were not assessed benefits for maintenance of the ditches and were unsure of their right to drainage into the system.

The board turned down a request by representatives of Western Minnesota Prairie Waters regional tourism organization for $12,800 in contributions to promote tourism in the area.