7/15/2014 5:11:00 PM Dodge County Commissioners
Hwy 57 wall to be repaired, Claremont buildings to be demolished Remodel costs higher than expected, changes in dispatch and probation services considered
By Gretta Becay
At their meeting July 8, 2014, the Dodge County Commissioners approved cutting some of the planned remodeling projects to the courthouse and government services building to reduce costs; heard presentations about merging dispatch services with Goodhue County and about changing probation management systems along with other business.
This spring, only two bids were received to complete renovations on the courthouse and the government services building and both were higher than the $8.5 million estimate by John McNamara of Wold Architects of St. Paul.
McNamara said that by doing less remodeling in the court administration area, changing the work schedule from spring to fall, not installing an ice melt system at the government services building, and other measures, bids should come in closer to the county's budgeted amount. Bids for the project will now be opened Sept 15.
The commissioners also approved spending about $225,000 for the county's share of repairing the walls on either side of Highway 57 between Sixth and Seventh Streets in Mantorville. The state Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will repair the walls in the right-of-way but the county must install a drainage system above the wall next to the courthouse that protects the new wall from,
The work is scheduled for 2015.
Through property tax forfeiture, the county owns two abandoned buildings at 216 and 218 West Front St in Claremont. The commissioners approved hiring Kane and Johnson Architects for about $9,400 for engineering services prior to demolishing the buildings.
The commissioners heard a presentation by members of the Goodhue County Sheriff's department; Sheriff Scott McNurlin, Chief Deputy Lyle Lorenson, and Sargeant Wayne Betcher, about merging the two counties' dispatch services. Before making any decision about a partnership, McNurlin suggested stakeholder meetings be held in Dodge County with members of local fire departments, ambulance services, and police departments. The study completed by Goodhue County suggested Dodge County could save up to $400,00/year by merging the two departments.
Commissioners also heard a presentation by Dave Unmacht of Springsted Inc. of St. Paul about options open to the county concerning managing offenders on parole, probation or supervised release, and providing victim services. At present, the county shares these duties with Fillmore and Olmsted Counties in a partnership called DFO; the Dodge-Fillmore-Olmsted County community corrections program. The county has been in this partnership since 1994. Recent cost increases and reductions in state funding led to the study.
Unmacht's study reviews whether Dodge County could join the same type of partnership with Waseca and Steele Counties and complete the required work better or for less money.
Commissioners have until July 31 to make a decision about staying in DFO.
A public hearing was held about reducing the area of operation for the Southeast Minnesota Multi-County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (SEMMCHRA). Resident Doug Klevos spoke to the commissioners about the benefits of the housing redevelopment program. The commissioners have said that towns in the county have used the services but county residents have not.
After the hearing, the commissioners voted to approve a resolution reducing, "... SEMMCHRA's service area to exclude the Dodge County political subdivision."
The commissioners also heard a presentation about revising the tobacco ordinance to include electronic cigarettes.
The commissioners approved a $2,500 donation from the county United Way for the DARE program.
The commissioners will meet again at 9:30 a.m. July 22 at the courthouse.