Crow Wing County Board: County updates asset, budget policies

Policies governing how Crow Wing County manages its assets and the money it uses to pay for that property were updated Tuesday. The Crow Wing County Board approved changes to the policies following recommendations from Finance Director Jason Raus...

Policies governing how Crow Wing County manages its assets and the money it uses to pay for that property were updated Tuesday.

The Crow Wing County Board approved changes to the policies following recommendations from Finance Director Jason Rausch and Business Analyst Alaina Bundy. Many of the changes are practices already followed by the county, Rausch said, although they were not yet committed in writing.

One of the most significant changes to the asset management policy was a change in the capitalization threshold from $5,000 to $15,000, with the exception of motorized vehicles.

What capitalization means, Rausch explained after the meeting, is an expected lifespan is attached to property the county purchases, and the costs associated with that purchase are spread over that timeframe. For example, expenditures toward a $15,000 lawnmower with an expected lifespan of five years would be accounted for as $3,000 spent each of those years.

The policy should be updated, Rausch said, because purchases of less than $15,000 do not skew the county's expenditures enough in a year to make it worth the staff time. In his presentation, Rausch pointed out assets worth less than $15,000 account for 32 percent of the total number of assets owned by the county, but just 2 percent of the dollars spent.


Other changes included requiring reallocations of dollars up to $30,000 be reviewed by the budget committee and the elimination of a 2-year sunset provision on projects, along with a change allowing procurement to begin early for vehicle purchases.

One change to the budget policy included allowing approval of budgets that are not balanced-a practice Rausch said sounded worse than it was. He said the board had approved unbalanced budgets several times in recent years once one-time expenditures were accounted for. These included an allotment toward the Highway 371 reconstruction and a cash injection during the county's debt refinancing.

Other updates to the policy included a requirement that "no net effect" budget amendments go before the budget committee, automatic changes to revenues and expenditures upon grant approval by the board and a reduction in the dollar amount required for budget amendments to go before the board for approval.

Both policies will now be reviewed on a biannual basis instead of annually.

In other business, the county board:

Authorized an agreement with Anderson Brothers Construction Company for construction on county roads 101 and 110. The engineer's estimate was $156,872.50 and the contracted amount was $161,458.25 for bituminous surfacing. The project is expected to begin May 2016 and to be completed by June 4.

Authorized an out-of-state travel request for the RSVP director to attend the North Central Service Conference for Senior Corps Directors June 8-10 in Indianapolis.

Entered a lease agreement with the Crow Wing County Fair Association for the use of finished office space in the basement of the Land Services Building.


Passed a resolution establishing a rural residential district on Welton Road, which establishes the speed limit at 35 mph. The board recently agreed to a pavement petition presented by residents of the road.

Entered an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to study seal coat application on County Highway 3 between Crosslake and Fifty Lakes. The project will include seal coating one mile each year over five years, while leaving one mile unsealed. Because County Highway 3 was a warm-mix paving project, MnDOT is interested in learning more about how seal-coating might increase the pavement life.

Approved the 2016 adult mental health grant agreement for the Region V+ Adult Mental Health Initiative. The grant award increased $8,600.

Renewed an off-highway motorcycle trail permit for the Northern Lites Cycle Club on county land in Oak Lawn Township.

Approved an amendment to a food and laundry services agreement between the Crow Wing County Jail and A'viands, LLC. The amendment reduced prices within the meal pricing schedule.

Approved the hiring of the following people: Jill Yde, social worker, community services; Anne Marie Kimman, technical/administrative specialist, community services; Ryan Simonson, natural resource manager, land services; Jacob Hradsky, seasonal aquatic invasive species coordinator, land services; Melody Villnow, technical/administrative specialist, community services; Susan Klooster, technical/administrative specialist, community services; Joshua Brilla, correctional officer, sheriff's office; Tom Strack, natural resource manager, land services; and Alexander Rude, seasonal engineer aide, highway department.

Accepted the departures of the following employees: Thaddeus Jobs, correctional officer, sheriff's office; Alan Booth, correctional officer, sheriff's office; and Kirk Titus, natural resource manager, land services.

Accepted the transfer of Kathie Cluever to become a financial worker in community services.


Approved replacement staffing for a financial program coordinator in community services, a social worker in community services, a senior analyst-network administrator in information technology, and two correctional officers in the sheriff's office.

CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or . Follow on Twitter at .

Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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