Weather Forecast


Board remembers Maattala for his work in solid waste department

On a day when Crow Wing County congratulated its Solid Waste Department on an award, it took a moment of silence to remember a long-time employee of that department who died after an illness. 

John Maattala, who worked in the county’s solid waste office, died Tuesday morning. He worked with the county since 1986 and was a tireless supporter of recycling, protecting the environment and helping people. 

Tuesday, the board congratulated the Land Services Solid Waste Department on its award as the 2011 National Association of Counties’ Achievement Award for the sanitary landfill on-site landfill gas recovery project. The award program is in its 42nd year. The award recognizes a county’s “work to promote quality, efficient and responsive management and administration.” 

In other business, the board:

Approved spending $144,254 after federal reimbursement for the 2011 project in Community Services after looking at growing worker caseloads. The county has been talking about adding the software, which is part of a larger project aimed at going paperless by 2014 and to be more efficient. 

Dale Parks, financial assistance supervisor, said he used a 7.5 percent projected growth rate for average caseload and the actual growth rate on recent month-to-month was 10 percent. The average caseload in 2009 was 234, which increased to 251 in 2010. 

Looking at costs for the project from 2010 and 2011, the county reported the costs after federal reimbursement are $470,636. Staff savings, considering the average salary of $64,810 in 2010, are predicted to be $1,281,889 over four years or $640,944 in staff savings after federal reimbursement. 

Distributed tax-forfeited surplus revenue of  $402,282.77. The board annually distributes a surplus from the past year. 

The board allocated $80,456.55 to parks, which had budgeted $42,000. The board allocated $120,684.84 to the building fund, which was budgeted $63,000. 

By state law, 50 percent of the surplus goes to the county, with 50 percent of the remaining balance divided with 40 percent going to the county, 40 percent to schools and 20 percent to cities/townships. 

The balance remaining of $201,141.38 was divided into three parts — the county general fund, schools and townships/cities. Through the division, $80,456.55 went to the general fund, an increase from a budgeted amount of $42,000. 

In the distribution of funds a total of $281,597.94 went to the county with $80,456.55 going to the schools, and $40,228.28 going to the townships and cities. 

Reappointed Mark Young to the Thirty Lakes Watershed District Board of Managers. The district includes Unorganized Territory and Center, Lake Edward, Mission, Pelican townships and cities of Breezy Point and Nisswa. 

The county continues to have vacancies on its committees. The county has 86 citizen appointments. 

Authorized a contract between Crow Wing County and Holmvig Excavating, to install a centerline culvert on County Highway 11 at a cost not to exceed $64,138.10. 

Heard from Jeff Czeczok, Brainerd resident, who asked to be on the agenda regarding the airport conflict of interest issues. Chairman Paul Thiede told Czeczok he was limited to five minutes in each case. Czeczok also spoke during the open forum. 

Czeczok objected to the description of hiring of Brainerd attorney Pat Krueger to serve the airport commission as hiring an objective third party. Czeczok said that wasn’t accurate. Czeczok said Krueger was not hired by the commission at a public meeting and was not third party neutral. Czeczok submitted a three-page letter to the board detailing his position. He said Krueger’s legal services were used in the past by the airport commission so he rejected the idea Krueger could act as the independent review. 

Commissioner Rachel Reabe Nystrom asked commissioners who supported the third-party review if they were satisfied. Commissioner Doug Houge, who made the initial motion for the review, said he was satisfied and considers Krueger to be a third-party entity. Thiede said he put restrictions on Czeczok’s comments because he didn’t think it was necessary for the board to be drawn into this issue in a protracted manner. 

Later in the meeting, Czeczok spoke to the board regarding the affidavit provided as a remedy for the conflict of interest. Czeczok said the board may not have an obligation to act, but had the ability to do more than it has. Thiede said the board has delegated the responsibility to the airport commission. Thiede asked County Attorney Don Ryan if an attorney is hired on other matters if that would preclude them from being a third party in another instance. Ryan said no. And Ryan said it is not the purview of the county board to determine a crime related to statements on an affidavit as that falls to prosecutors and law enforcement and nothing has been referred to the county attorney’s office in that regard.