NEW ULM — By a 4-1 vote on Tuesday, Brown County Council on Tuesday approved a resolution for the auditor-treasurer to apply for a ballot box grant.
The action came on a motion from Commissioner Dave Borchert, seconded by Tony Berg. Commissioner Dean Simonsen cast the dissenting vote.
“The reason for the drop box was COVID. I don’t know if we have it now,” said Simonsen. “I was responsible for the (election) drop boxes in the canton. They were in someone’s hands all the time.
Borchert said mail-in voting has value if votes are received that otherwise would not.
In its first special session of 2021, the Minnesota Legislature allocated $2 million to implement Minnesota Statutes Section 203B.082, which specifies minimum security requirements and standards for establishing a 24-hour ballot box. time.
The program does not require counties to match funding in order to receive a grant, but does provide reimbursement of actual costs up to $15,000 per drop box. Permitted uses include purchase and installation of drop box, installation of video surveillance and related costs such as license and data storage agreements and related costs.
Priority will be given to applications received by May 16. After this date, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until grant funds are exhausted.
The grants will reimburse counties for actual costs and will not provide up-front funds. Applicants will receive up to $15,000 based on estimated costs. Funds will be allocated once drop boxes are filled and actual costs are established.
The Commissioners unanimously approved:
• Authorized 2022 Minnesota State Voting Equipment Grant. Brown County requested $26,915 for Omni-vote tablets and $1,298 notebook. Brown County received $18,590, 69% of the requested amount.
The grant will be used to purchase 14 Omni-vote tablets or assistive voting devices to replace obsolete Automark machines. It requires a 100% match of $9,295.10 which is covered by Help America Vote Act and Brown County receipt.
• A resolution to authorize the advance of municipal construction funds for 2022 construction projects, motion by Borchert, seconded by Windschitl. State assistance funds can be advanced from future allocations without interest or fees if sufficient funds are in the general state assistance account. There are enough funds to do that right now.
The current 10-year construction plan estimates the need to advance $175,000 in municipal state aid from the 2023 allotment to complete the 2022 construction projects. With the addition of the bet at the surface level of the CSAH 35 railroad at Sleepy Eye, the Brown County Highway Department sought to advance the award by one year, $339,698.
• Rural Intersection Lighting Agreement and Resolution A TH 14/CSAH 2, motion of Commissioner Jeff Veerkamp, seconded by Windschitl. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) would pay for the lighting installation west of Springfield. Brown County would maintain the items and pay the electricity costs.
• Hiring of Sleepy Eye Electric as contractor for the indoor and outdoor wiring/units of the landfill-scale house, proposed by Windschitl, seconded by Simonsen. Bids are $8,490 from Sleepy Eye Electric and $11,485 from Paul’s Electric, New Ulm.
• Hiring of GSM of New Ulm as contractor for heating, ventilation and air conditioning work on a house on a landfill scale, including a heat pump with BP secondary, proposed by Borchert, assisted by Veerkamp.
• No public comment was heard during a public hearing on the Lake Hanska County Park camping ordinance, approved on a motion by Veerkamp, seconded by Berg.
The ordinance includes the quiet hours of the campsite from 10:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.
• Offer Lori Nelson, former child protection social worker, a temporary social worker position for up to 67 work days in 2022 at $30.93/hr. (Grade XV, Step 6) when recruiting, hiring and training for three vacant Child Protection Social Worker positions.
• Rehire social worker Callie Fore on a temporary part-time basis, up to 24 hours a week and 67 workdays in 2022, at $23.02/hr. (grade XI, stage 3), from May 13, 2022, request by Borchert, seconded by Berg.
(Fritz Busch can be emailed to [email protected])