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Commissioners set salaries for 2014

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Commissioners set salaries for 2014
Morris Minnesota 607 Pacific Avenue 56267

MORRIS – The Stevens County Board of Commissioners approved 1.5 percent salary increases for the county’s four elected officials and a 1.5 percent cost of living increase for non-union employees and appointed officials at their meeting Tuesday.

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The only group not receiving a wage increase in 2014 is the commissioners themselves, who elected to freeze their annual salary at $16,787 and maintain their per diem rate of $60 per approved committee meeting.

Based on the 1.5 percent increase, salaries for the county’s elected officials will be $104,972 for County Attorney Aaron Jordan; $78,645 for Sheriff Jason Dingman; $73,581 for County Recorder Virginia Mahoney; and $73,146 for County Auditor/Treasurer Neil Wiese.

On Tuesday, the board also approved new grades for four positions at the courthouse that were reviewed by a government employment consultant this year. Based on the review, the grades for the property records specialist, deputy assessor and deputy auditor/treasurer were increased. Employees holding those positions were moved to a step in the new grade that realizes a pay increase, Human Resource Director Janet Raguse told the board.

One of the positions reviewed by the consultant, property tax specialist, did not see a grade increase. Deanna Heuer, who holds the position, told the board she was “surprised” the grade for her position had not changed since she has increased responsibility in the auditor/treasurer’s office since the job description was last reviewed. Heuer asked that the description be resubmitted to the consultants for review.

Although several commissioners cautioned Heuer that resubmitting the job description may not make a difference, the board voted to allow Raguse to resubmit the job description for review.

Stevens County to offer loan program in Pomme de Terre watershed

The Stevens County Board of Commissioners approved paperwork that will allow the county to offer a low interest loan program for property owners doing septic system upgrades in the Pomme de Terre watershed.

The Clean Water Partnership Grant program was created in partnership with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The total award is $500,000, which is split among Otter Tail, Grant, Big Stone and Stevens Counties. Stevens County’s share of the award will be $100,000.

Under the program, landowners in the watershed can borrow money at a three percent interest rate to pay for septic system upgrades, then payoff the costs over five to 10 years as an assessment on property taxes, Environmental Services Director Bill Kleindl explained.

To be eligible, property owners must be current on taxes and cannot take out a loan that exceeds the value of their property. Loan dollars are available until June 30, 2016.

Other business

  • The board approved a solid waste collection/transportation license for Engebretson Sanitary Disposal Service. The license is good for a period of up to one year.
  • The board approved a final list of allocations and appropriations for 2014. Allocations included $35,200 to the Ag Society; $56,144 to the Viking Library System; $110,000 to the Stevens County Soil and Water Conservation District; $60,000 to the Stevens County Historical Society; $66,812 to the Stevens County Economic Improvement Commission; and $129,664 to Stevens Traverse Grant Public Health.
  • The board approved a final payment of about $14,300 to JAAK of Le Sueur for work on a township road signage program. County Engineer Brian Giese told the board that the total cost of the project, about $201,900, was 1.34 percent over the contracted amount. Eighty percent of the project cost will be covered by federal funds. Townships in Stevens County will reimburse the remaining 20 percent.
  • The board set their annual meeting for Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 9 a.m. at the Stevens County Courthouse. The commissioners also scheduled a work session to learn about bonding on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 12 p.m. 
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Kim Ukura
Kim Ukura has served as the editor of the Morris Sun Tribune since August 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 2008 with degrees in English and journalism. She earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2010. Prior to returning to Morris to work at the Sun Tribune, she worked in trade publishing. She has been recognized by the Minnesota Newspaper Association for both business and public affairs reporting. 
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