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Crow Wing County Board: Senior leaders talk capital improvements

Leaders in Crow Wing County are working to prioritize capital improvement projects for the next budget and beyond. County Administrator Tim Houle told the county board Tuesday that the senior management team discussed capital needs at its most re...

Leaders in Crow Wing County are working to prioritize capital improvement projects for the next budget and beyond.

County Administrator Tim Houle told the county board Tuesday that the senior management team discussed capital needs at its most recent meeting. Houle said establishing which projects take priority is a sometimes difficult proposition-comparing the need for a replacement snowplow to implementing new technology that could improve employee efficiency, for example.

Houle said leadership in each department has identified needs, and those needs are important to each. An approach this year is to gather the opinions of senior leaders on which projects should be tackled in what order.

"Not all of the senior leaders felt they had been asked last year what they thought those priorities would be," Houle said.

The county board does have final say on which projects are funded in the budget.

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Jason Rausch, finance director, presented at the senior management team meeting on the preliminary capital improvements plan requests for 2017-2022.

The capital projects fund has four revenue sources: the property tax levy, county program aid from the state, forfeited property and revenue from rent payments and other miscellaneous charges. The total projected revenue in 2017 is $3,407,668. Property tax levy dollars represent 31.4 percent of the total revenue of the fund, which over a six-year period is expected to garner $20,446,008.

Current funding requests through 2022 reach $18,157,962, although Rausch said requests for years further into the future are not complete. Capital projects fund requests from land services, for example, do not extend beyond 2018.

"It is not uncommon to see requests come in higher than the amount that we have to spend in one year, but over the six year plan, we do have funding to complete all of the projects that have been submitted," Rausch said by email.

Although the projected revenue might cover the requests over the six-year period, some larger projects require more funding than is available in one year, Rausch's presentation stated.

Most of the project requests are for equipment, repairs to buildings or are maintenance-related. These include:

• LED lighting throughout the campus

• Heating, ventilation and air conditioning controls

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• An air handling unit and fan rebuilds

• Concrete repairs

• Uninterruptible power supply battery replacement

• Seward ejector replacement and controls

• Variable air volume control replacements

• Chiller plant motor rebuild

• Primary pump replacement

• Load bank test for a generator

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• Fleet replacements for highway and sheriff's office vehicles and equipment

Some of the proposed capital improvement projects are technology-related:

• Storage area network enhancements

• Server additions/repairs

• System and network security

• Phone replacement

Houle said the goal is to recognize the "best way to represent all of the disparate interests that are represented."

In other business, the county board:

Authorized a grant agreement between the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and Crow Wing County for funding in the amount of $41,027. The funding, effective Jan. 1, 2016, through Dec. 31, 2016, offsets wages and benefits for the emergency management director.

Approved an exchange of federal funds for state aid funds with Cass County. Resurfacing projects on county highways 16 and 25 received a total of $1,022,036. The county will transfer those funds to Cass County in exchange for its normal state aid funding.

"This reduces the overall number of federal projects and allows Crow Wing County to proceed with ... state aid projects, a request for board action stated. Both resurfacing projects are scheduled for 2017.

Vacated excess right-of-way on County Highway 36 following completion of reconstruction.

Approved a lawful gambling application for an exempt permit for the Brainerd Rotary Foundation for an event on Sept. 9 at the Parker Scout Camp.

Approved classifying tax-forfeited property on County Road 138 in Garrison Township as non-conservation. Another parcel was classified as non-conservation in the city of Nisswa and was directly sold to the city for public purpose.

Approved the promotion of Ronda Kline, program coordinator in community services.

Approved the hiring of the following people: Teressa Pickar, program coordinator, community services; Miranda Lambert, seasonal recreational assistant, sheriff's office; Cynthia Beebe, front desk support, limited part-time, county administrator's office; and Lindsey Lamwers, assistant veterans service officer.

Accepted the departure of Stephanie Kubas, public health nurse, community services.

Approved replacement staffing for a seasonal boat and water deputy, sheriff's office; a social worker, community services; and a public health nurse, community services.

INFOBOX

Capital Projects Requests for Crow Wing County, 2017

Department Cost of Request

Highway $524,000

Sheriff $1,578,724

Land services $520,000

Information technology $522,920

Elections $250,000

Community services $1,055,000

Facilities $1,095,200

Total $5,545,844

CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchChelsey .

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 chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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