The Fillmore County commissioners simply cannot keep from talking trash – they brought up more about it at the close of the Tuesday, April 11, County Board meeting.

The board members discussed the matter of how to manage recycling bins placed throughout the county for rural residents’ use after finding that the bins are overflowing and bits of refuse have been caught in the wind.

The topic arose during the commissioners’ committee updates, and it was observed that the Spring Valley and Canton recycling collection sites typically have too much deposited and that there is no containment set up for the overflow. This causes the loose recyclables to be spread out after a good gust of wind.

The commissioners debated whether the overflowing bins are the result of city residents using them or if rural residents who do not have home recycling bins for roadside pickup are making good use of them.

In the past, pointed out Commissioner Marc Prestby, the bins have been temporarily removed from the collection sites if the amount of recyclable trash or obvious trash has become a nuisance. In the past residents were using them to dump garbage instead of materials that can be recycled, however, he added, this time the bins have just been full of recyclables.

Board members further volunteered that Waste Management, which used to serve as the county’s waste hauler, would come to pick up a load if necessary, and it is assumed that Harter’s, the new hauler, would do likewise if notified that it is needed.

The commissioners talked about how to install a fence or a three-sided shed around the bins, but county coordinator Bobbie Vickerman reminded them the garbage trucks must be able to safely approach the bins without demolishing the surrounding enclosures, making a fence of some kind the most viable option.

No action was taken regarding the issue because it was not on the agenda, but the board members agreed that something has to be done to keep the sites clear of debris.

Sheriff’s report

Sheriff Tom Kaase, accompanied by Dr. Todd Leonard of MeND Nursing Services and jail administrator Jamie Fenske, spoke about the nursing services provided through MeND for the Fillmore County jail.

Kaase explained it has been two years since the commissioners chose to contract with MeND and it is difficult to determine whether the jail’s budget has seen any savings through employing MeND staff to care for inmates.

Kaase and Fenske explained the jail had previously lacked a 24-hour medical provider, meaning there were liability issues and also that anyone being admitted to the jail requiring prescriptions would have to be taken to the doctor, incurring medical costs.

Kaase stated, “Prior to MeND coming, we didn’t have any regular nursing services and actually had a very dangerous situation…the jail administrator deciding whether someone would need to go to the doctor.”

Leonard related, “It’s more medically-complicated to enter the jail now. The medical liability risk is skyrocketing and it’s much more important to have a 24-7 nurse and medical professional on call.”

Fenske observed that the rules of the Minnesota Department of Corrections (MnDOC require that jails have a medical provider on hand, saying, “There are costs, but our liability is drastically reduced.”

Commissioner Gary Peterson inquired, “When did you first sign the contract?”

Fenske replied, “May of 2015.”

Peterson asked, “So there is a need?”

He was informed that the county is in the second year of its three-year contract with MeND and Commissioner Duane Bakke expressed his concern that if there is no automatic yearlong renewal to the contract, an extension should be given consideration sooner than later to be certain the jail is not without medical services.

“A year goes by in a hurry,” he said.

Kaase then shared news on the voice logger for the fire and ambulance paging system, particularly because it has not been replaced since sometime in the early 1980s. He said it is outdated and has not been functioning at the Chatfield ambulance station, leaving the county open to liability for any unrecorded emergency calls.

“The boards cannot be fixed, and to have Chatfield’s ambulance not be logged, if there’s any question what was done or not done, it could be problematic,” Kaase said.

He requested the commissioners allow the expenditure of $2,147.80 from 911 funds to bring the voice logger up to compliance, and motions passed to provide it.

Other business

Zoning administrator Cristal Adkins brought three requests to the County Board. The first was to approve an access permit for Kim and Kathryn Chiglo’s new driveway to County Road 107 in Norway Township. The second was approval for Reagan and Diane Miller to widen an existing driveway on County Road 2 in Sumner Township. Finally, a request was made to allow Matthew and Jordan Nelson to put a new driveway in for their new building site in Amherst Township. All three were granted.