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Stevens Co. Commisioners approve document imaging upgrade

MORRIS, Minn. - The Stevens County Board of Commissioners IT Director Scott Busche to move forward with a $4,300 software purchase that will help improve the county's ability to make files available electronically at their meeting Tuesday.

The new software contains a workflow package, which will allow larger departments like Human Services, to more efficiently work through the process of digitizing files. Busche told the board that moving to a new file system would be much less expensive than updating the current program.

The biggest change residents will see is the way documents available online through Alchemy ( will appear. Busche said the new system will look more like Windows and will work effectively on more Internet browsers.

Highway Department works in shop, prepares for spring construction plans

Lack of snow has kept highway department staff working on housekeeping projects inside the shop, County Engineer Brian Giese told the board. The crew worked on snow and ice patrol a couple of times in January, but only on the paved roads.

"The winter seasons continues to be really kind to us," said Giese. "I was surprised to see that we actually aren't that far below the normal snow in the month of January alone, but we are down for the season, of course."

The department has also submitted the first drafts of construction plans for the season, and Giese said he expects to bring a request to approve to advertise on most projects to the board in March.

Giese presented the board with an additional construction project for 2012, adding a bridge on CSAH 13. Giese told the board that original plans called for a paving an overlay project on CSAH 13, but a hydraulic survey on the location indicated a bridge would be needed.

The board passed a resolution identifying the project as a priority for bridge replacement, which makes it eligible for state bridge bonding funds. The total cost of the project will be $68,000 - $56,000 from township or state bridge funds and $12,000 from local or state aid funds.

The highway department also has a little more money coming in from the state and federal government over the next few years.

The County State Aid Highway Distribution for each county was approved in January, and Stevens County will receive about $2.5 million, a five percent increase over 2011. The state average allocation increased 6.4 percent.

More importantly, said Giese, the regular maintenance allocation exceeds the county budget by 4.3 percent. This money must be used on County State Aid Highways and can't be spend on local roads.

Giese also told the board that Stevens County will receive about $1.2 million in federal aid in 2016, to be used on County Road 1 between Hancock and CSAH 10 (the Mill Dam Road).

Other business

• Commissioners Phil Gausman and Jeanne Ennen formed a committee to work with Ferolyn Angell and Melissa Yauk of the Prairie Renaissance Cultural Alliance to come up with a long-term plan for artwork displayed in the building. Angell and Yauk suggested it might be a good idea to choose some permanent pieces for the building, rather than switching out all of the pieces.

• The board approved contracts for the General Unit and the Highway Unit of the county's American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union. The contract for 2012 includes step increases, a one percent cost of living adjustment and an insurance contribution of $725 per month. For 2013, the contract includes step increases, a 1.25 percent cost of living adjustment and an insurance contribution of $750 per month.

• A drainage workgroup is scheduled to meet on Feb. 15 at 8:30 a.m. The workgroup has reviewed a draft drainage policy for the county and is considering what other steps might be needed. The committee expects to hold an informational meeting sometime in March, Giese said.

• The board approved Pilar Eble to the Extension Committee for two three-year terms.

• The board approved $2,100 in dues for the Minnesota Rural County Caucus and a $1,500 donation to the West Central Initiative Endowment Fund.