Lyon County Board to go ‘paperless’

MARSHALL – The Lyon County Board plans to go digital this year – or at the very least, to try it out.

At their regular meeting Tuesday, county commissioners voted to buy a computer software package that would give both the public and county officials access to online versions of board agendas and minutes, as well as letting commissioners have paperless meetings. The software contract they approved would give the county a trial period to use the system.

At their last meeting, commissioners received a demonstration of Agenda.NET, a system that can be used to post online agendas, documents and minutes for public meetings, as well as for conducting meetings. On Tuesday, they were presented with a possible contract for buying, installing and maintaining the software for Lyon County.

Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg said the contract with Provox Systems, the company that makes the software, would have an initial cost of $17,100. That included the cost of the system, installation and training for county employees and one year of maintenance. Ongoing maintenance costs would be $1,600 a year.

Stomberg said the software package Provox Systems offered would also work with the county’s accounting and Geographic Information Systems software. Stomberg said one ususual feature of the proposed contract was a 90-day free trial period for the system. If it didn’t work out, the county would have the opportunity to return the software, he said.

If commissioners approved the contract, Stomberg said, the Agenda.NET system would be installed in July and be ready for use by Aug. 1.

“I know we had talked about having it ready toward the first of the year,” Stomberg said, but he thought it might be better to try out the system when the county wasn’t already busy with budget issues.

Commissioners said they were in favor of trying out the paperless system.

“This is the wave of the future,” said Commissioner Steve Ritter. Ritter said he also appreciated the inclusion of a trial period in the contract.

The county board would not be the first local government body to switch to paperless meetings. Both the Marshall City Council and the Marshall School Board use paperless meeting software, partly to save on copying costs and staff members’ time.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Lyon County Attorney Rick Maes told board members he would like to apply for an open judge’s position in another county. Maes requested a letter of recommendation from the county commissioners for the application process. Commissioners voted in favor of writing the letter.

The selection of judicial candidates is a process conducted by the state, and new judges are ultimately appointed by the Minnesota governor, Maes said.

Commissioners approved the hiring of Jay Murphy as parks manager for Lyon County. Murphy was one of the candidates for parks manager interviewed by the county on June 13. Murphy would start at a salary of $55,800.

Commissioners voted to accept a quote to haul 750,000 gallons of leachate from the Lyon County sanitary landfill. Leachate is a kind of wastewater, usually rainwater that passes through trash at a landfill. The amount of leachate that collects at the Lyon County landfill is something that tends to fluctuate with the weather, said Lyon County Environmental Administrator Paul Henriksen. Compared to last year’s drought conditions, “We are definitely generating leachate this year,” he said.

Henriksen estimated about 2 million gallons of leachate had been collected at the landfill this year. Some of the water could be recirculated through the landfill cells, he said, but he had taken quotes to transport 750,000 gallons to a water treatment plant in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Commissioners accepted a hauling quote of $350 per load of leachate from L&M Express in Balaton. Henriksen said the quote worked out to a total cost of about $47,000, or seven cents per gallon of leachate.

Commissioners approved a request from Lyon County Sheriff Mark Mather to use up to $51,000 to replace the computer server the sheriff’s department and the Marshall Police Department share for recordkeeping. Mather said the current server can no longer be updated and needs to be replaced. A new server system would also open the door to the possibility of further improvements for law enforcement recordkeeping, he said.

The funding for the server replacement would come from money left over in the Law Enforcement Center building fund, after construction of the new county jail.