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Murray County Board of Commissioners

Open forum again draws large group of citizens

March 27, 2014

By Dorothy Bloemendaal
The Murray County board of commissioners accepted a $1,000 donation from the Lakers 4-H to be used for the cattle barn renovation. Also the Murray County Horse Project donated $2,000 for the horse arena lighting project.

A preliminary hearing for Judicial Ditch 6 and 20A improvement project will be held on April 15 at 2:00 p.m. The engineer’s report has been received and delegates from Redwood, Lyon and Murray County will be in attendance.

The full board will meet for Judicial #6.

The liquor license for Rolling Hills Golf Club was renewed for the season.

The board of Appeal and Equalization will meet on June 17 at 6:00 p.m.

Aurora Heard reminded the board of the MCIT land use training to be held on April 17 in St. Cloud. Commissioner David Thiner will attend.

The job description for the museum assistant was approved. The position is for the day to day operations of the End-O-Line Park & Museum, Murray County Historic Museum and the Dinehart/Holt house. It is a part-time -summer seasonal position. The board also approved a collections inventory assistant who would work 15 hours per week. A grant will cover the cost of employee.

Several seasonal positions are available including four park maintenance workers, four museum assistants, one soil and water employee, one extension intern and one grant funded temporary collections inventory assistant.

A conditional use permit was granted to Jim Thovson to construct a storage building for his agricultural service business. It is adjacent to Slayton’s Industrial District.

K-Communications applied for a condition use permit and was approved for a tower in Section 10, Shetek Township. Chairman John Giese inquired if it would be possible to add a weather warning siren to the tower.

Chris Hansen presented the Murray County Low Income SSTS Replacement grant. He had applied for a $40,000 grant and was issued one for $37,900. The grant will pay up to 80 percent for septic replacing of a non-complying septic system for low income individuals. The project needs to be completed by June 30, 2016.

Four seasonal campsites at Swenson Park will be available at a rate of $800 from May 1st to October 1st. They will be rented on a first come first served basis.

George Eilertson presented the resolution authorizing the Issuance, Sale and Delivery of $346,000 General Obligation Capital Equipment notes. Three local banks submitted bids and Minnwest of Slayton was chosen with a one (1) percent interest rate. The funds are to be used for a motor grader, fuel pumps and the salt storage shed at the highway department.

Four bids were received for the overlay projects for county roads. Duininck, Inc, Prinsburg, MN submitted the low bid of $1,892,644.51. Engineer’s estimate $2,105,172.17. County roads 1, 24, 4 and 34 are to be overlayed.

Bids for the fuel pumps replacements and building the salt shed for the highway department will be on April 22 at 10:30 a.m. There is a 45 day completion date after the start of the construction.

Road postings began on March 13. Gravel roads have a five ton limit and black top a nine ton limit.

A large delegation of concerned citizens were present for the open forum. Each was given two and one half minutes to speak and the forum would be closed in 15 minutes.

Trish Grieme read a statement to make a formal request for the “tentative” community meeting to be held in the MCC auditorium or gym and made public so that it could be advertised. The “Taking Back MCMC” had over 150 people in attendance on March 3 with no advertisement, she said. The request was for plenty of seating and a good sound system.

Pastor Ted Kunze said the ministerium will be helpful to bring healing to the staff and the community as a whole. He encouraged all to do what is right. We need to be neighbors and be careful of our rhetoric.

Jeremy Steinle read parts of a prepared statement to discuss his ongoing concerns for the future of the Murray County Medical Center. He spoke of the lack of trust that is currently with the board of commissioners and the hospital board.

“The people of this community care about our hospital and we will hold you accountable for the decisions that you have made to get it to is current conditions. ....The quality of the people inside of it makes it successful and we are here to show that we will support those people. You have a choice, start listening, or be the reason this hospital fails.” A round of applause followed his presentation. Stacy Slettum gave the board a letter asking them to try to understand what is going on. She does not want a lawsuit and cares about “my facility”. So far she had not received a reply from the board. She cares about her patients and is available to speak with the board. Another round of applause. Refer to the Letters to the editor for complete statement.

Mike Stelter thanked Commissioner Gerald Magnus for his support. The hospital needs citizen support and will follow the providers. He concluded ties with Sanford should be severed and to go with Avera.

With the recent resignation of two hospital board members the board will accept nominations or applications to fill the positions on the nine member board.

Commissioner Moline left the board at 9:45 to attend a meeting at the hospital with Sanford representative Randy Anderson.

The commissioner meeting was recessed shortly before noon until l:00 p.m. to receive the report of Moline from the morning meeting. He stressed patient care is top priority. An independent interim would be hired possibly within two weeks. It would then take six to eight months before a CEO could be in place. A short term plan and a long term plan is to be implemented. In the meantime Director of Nurses Lorrie Mortensen and Renee Logan, Chief Financial Officer assume the CEO duties. Two doctors met with them and reiterated they want to keep working.

The board discussed at length the format of the tentative meeting set for Tuesday, March 25. Written questions would be categorized so the same question would not be asked over and over. A moderator may take questions for 30 minutes and then have it open for new questions. The board was reminded the floor would be open to anyone and they would stay as long as possible.

They were adamant this would be a controlled meeting and the question is - what happens from now on. The past is over and how do we move forward.

They will look at the bylaws and determine how to go forward and to how to keep the full board informed. Auditor/ treasurer Heidi Winter said there are few exceptions to the open meeting law.

The board’s hope is the questions are for the future rather than the past. Moline said three priorities are: 1. Patient care including staff first and foremost, 2. The interim and 3. Keeping the public informed through the media.

The meeting for the public is scheduled for March 25 at 6:00 p.m. at MCC auditorium.

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