By Charlie Warner
Argus News Editor
Jack Miller will once again serve as chair of the Houston County Board. The First District Commissioner was elected by a 3-2 vote to serve as board chair for a second straight year during the Jan. 3 board meeting.
County Auditor Char Meiners called the meeting to order and asked for nominations for board chair. Commissioner Teresa Walter nominated Commissioner Tom Bjerke. Commissioner Justin Zmyewski nominated Miller.
The vote was called and Commissioner Steve Schuldt, Zmyewski and Miller voted for Miller, while Walter and Bjerke voted for Bjerke.
Bjerke was then elected vice-chair by a unanimous vote.
In other board action:
Legal publications named
The Spring Grove Herald submitted the low bid at $4.80 a column inch to publish county board proceedings and was named the official newspaper for 2012. The Caledonia Argus was named the newspaper to publish the second printing of the county financial statement.
All four newspapers in the county submitted bids for the county legals.
Advertise on websites
County Highway Engineer Brian Pogodzinski requested a resolution be past to allow his department to advertise for bids on a number of websites instead of in the county’s legal newspapers.
He explained that the county saved about $1,500 by not publishing all of the bid notices in the local media. He added that regardless if the county printed the notices in the local newspapers, they would still post the bid notices on the web.
The bid notices appeared on the county’s website, as well as Mn/DOT’s site, which are viewed by contractors throughout the Upper Midwest.
A motion by Schuldt and seconded by Bjerke to approve the resolution was unanimously approved.
Public health issues
Public Health Director Deb Rock brought three different items before the board.
The first was the Medical Reserve Corp. (MRC) contract. Rock explained that the county would receive a $5,000 award from the National Association of County and City Health Officials to help increase the number of EMS personnel in the county willing to volunteer in the event of a medical emergency.
The county participated in the program last year and put a roster together. Rock noted that the county plans to use the money to assess the access county residents have of automated external defibrillators (AED). Once assessed Jessie Melde will work to secure funding to help purchase additional life-saving devices.
A motion made by Bjreke and seconded by Zmyewski to continue in the program and accept the award was unanimously approved.
The second was to continue in a national public health quality improvement project.
The program is designed to help county health departments to become more proficient in the adoption and application of quality improvement (QI) and to meet the accreditation standards and measures set by the Public health Accreditation Board.
Houston and Fillmore counties have jointly participated in this program in the past and will share a $5,000 award.
Rock explained that her department plans to send letters of intent for two projects that they have already chose as part of their 2012 QI plan with Fillmore County.
Rock added the county can receive an individual $5,000 grant and 15 hours of individualized quality improvement assistance from an experience QI coach.
Both programs would improve the infrastructure of the Community health board and the health of people in the communities that the county serves.
A motion by Walter and seconded by Schuldt to approve the resolution was unanimously approved.
The third issue was to continue the arrangement to share a regional purchase of service contract manager with nine other Southeast Minnesota counties.
The agreement requires each county to share the cost of the position. For Houston County the cost is $4,484 per year. Rock said because Houston County has the lowest population of the 10 counties, they pay the least amount.
You can contact Charlie Warner at email@example.com