It was a brief meeting of the Crow Wing County Board of Commissioners, but the highlight was the announcement of a labor agreement reached with the county highway department workers.

County Administrator Tim Houle told the board about the settlement with the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 49, at the board meeting on Tuesday, June 26.

"You may recall that we have been in negotiations with them for quite some time, and so I'm happy that we have a tentative agreement with them," Houle said.

Local 49 includes more than 13,000 members in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota with contracts for highway and building contractors, well drillers, equipment repair and welding shops, sand and gravel suppliers, counties, municipalities, hospitals, school districts and more.

"Outlining the agreement, there are 27 employees who are covered in engineering, maintenance and/or mechanics," Houle said of the settlement with the county department workers.

The county maintains more than 640 miles of roadway and right of way, as well as several bridges. County highways and roads, and roads in the First and Second assessment districts, are maintained by county highway department workers.

"In 2018, they are and have been in the past 100 percent aligned with our market-aligned pay plan. They are aligned with a three-level performance-based pay," Houle said.

"They have the salary-structure adjustments, which-you may recall-doesn't automatically drive wage adjustments, but keeps that salary grid consistent with the market changes."

County Engineer Tim Bray annually updates plans for future road improvements to county roads. The 2018-22 plan was adopted by the board on April 10.

"You cannot exceed eight hours of PTO (paid time off) usage in one day," Houle said of the labor agreement.

The agreement is effective Jan. 1, 2018, through Dec. 31, 2020. Payment of appropriate salary adjustments, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018, were authorized as part of the union settlement.

"They have the standard county renewal on insurance," Houle said. "Back in 2017, there was the elimination of the comprehensive major medical plan. It is still available to existing retirees provided that the plan continues to be offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield."

There were 113 miles of county highway, 64 miles of county roads and 12 miles of First Assessment District roads included as part of the county's five-year highway improvement plan.

"There was a small increase in the uniform allowance of $50 to address personal protective equipment replacement," Houle said of the settlement with the labor union.

"We certainly require for instance safety-toed shoes, things like that, for personal safety while they are out doing things like operating chainsaws and the like."

Commissioner Doug Houge made the motion to authorize entering into a labor agreement between the county and the union, which Commissioner Paul Koering seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

In other business, the county board:

Approved the hiring of Kevin Koop and Tonya Heldt, community services social workers, Britnee Weisz, administrative services intern, Anna Burch, sheriff's office 911 communications officer, and Kjersti Golden, sheriff's office correctional officer.

Approved the promotion of Cameron Behm, community services probation agent.

Approved the departure of Amber Laffin, community services probation agent.

Approve a budget amendment increase of $36,500 to the tax-forfeited budget for the demolition of paneling and roofing, and to install new metal wall, roof paneling and trim to match buildings on site, and to install new venting, at the county building at the fairgrounds.

Approved granting an easement for a 33-foot snowmobile trail to Brainerd Snodeos, crossing over tax-forfeited land in Maple Grove Township.

Approved a resolution supporting the watershed-scale planning efforts known as the "One Watershed, One Plan" for Rum River. The Rum River watershed is more than 997,000 acres. About 5 percent of the county's land base exists within the Rum River watershed.

Approved a resolution to assign the authority and duties of county zoning administrator and county planner to Environmental Services Manager Jacob Frie and county surveyor to Daniel McAninch.

Accepted a donation in the amount of $150 from Frey Law Office to the county drug court.

Approved the renewal of a 3.2 percent malt liquor license application of the Crow Wing

County Fair Association as recommended by Oak Lawn Township that does not apply during the county fair.

Approved the temporary on-sale liquor license application of the Brainerd Jaycees at the Brainerd International Raceway for Aug.16-19.

Approved the lawful gambling application for an exempt permit for the Garrison Lions Club for Nov. 24 at the Birds Nest in Garrison.

Approved the installation of a stop sign at Brody Court and County Highway 3.

Approved the joint powers agreement amendment between the state, the county and the city of Brainerd to provide state-approved bomb squad unit's expense reimbursement. The amendment extends the expiration date two years to June 30, 2020. The total obligation of the state for all services under this agreement is $156,500.

Authorized entering into an agreement between the county and Turnkey Corrections for inmate services and commissary products for a period of three years.

Authorized entering into a grant agreement between the county and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division for an emergency notification system, effective June 1, 2018, through Aug. 31, 2018. The grant amount is $25,345.39.