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No decision on combining two county boards

By Staff | Jul 8, 2012

The Faribault County Board of Commissioners still remain uncertain about the approval of combining two boards.

The discussion was originally brought up at the June 19 board meeting. Michele Stindtman, program administrator of Faribault County Soil and Water Conservation District, made the request to combine the Planning and Zoning Board with the Board of Adjustments.

County commissioners voted to table the issue for further discussion, which came up again at the July 3 meeting.

County Commissioner Bill Groskreutz added it to the agenda for the meeting.

“We need to make a decision on this, we can’t keep putting it off,”?he says.

The original hold up on the decision at the last meeting was due to the concern of having one board making all the decisions.

County Commissioner Tom Warmka stood by his opinion again, unsure of how this board could remain objective, should the two combine.

“I don’t understand how they could remain objective,”?Warmka says. “If I’m on one board that denies someone the first time, why would I change my mind the second time?”

Current consideration added a new concern the size of the board.

It was originally suggested as a 10-member board. Groskreutz wondered if they should look at making it a seven-person board.

“We could have five people from different districts, two from commissioners,” he says. “Big is not always good.”

County Attorney Troy Timmerman, however, quickly put an end to that suggestion; no more than one commissioner is to sit on the board.

The commissioners felt it really didn’t come down to who sat on the board, but who would be qualified and objective enough to do so.

“The people that come to the variance board are a small group of people who have been doing something for many years and are going to make a change,”?Warmka says. “I’ve always said the variance board should be a common sense board.”?

Groskreutz agreed, adding that they also need a lot of legal sense.

Stindtman proposed that the board merge until the end of this year. They would appoint Jim Meyer as planning commissioner, vote J.R. Hanson as chair and Bill Schaible as vice chair.

This arrangement would last through 2012 and they would then vote on a final arrangement at the December meeting. They would have to decide at that time whether to continue with the arrangement or not.

The board of commissioners asked to table making any decisions.

“I think this requires more research before we reach a decision,”?Warmka says.

Commissioner Greg Young agreed and thought it would be beneficial for Timmerman to look into the situation a little further.

“I?think you need to tell us, as well as you can, the actual duties of the variance board,”?Young says, “What exactly is their power?”

The combining of the boards will be tabled once again, and be brought back for discussion at the next regular meeting, which will be held at the Faribault County Fairgrounds.

In other business;

Miranda Rosa with the Drug and Family Dependency Court, came to update the board on its progress.

According to Rosa, the Family Dependency Court has currently been doing well, despite the freshness of the program.

“If the family program works it will save us some treatment dollars in the long run,”?Timmerman says.

Rosa feels that after a year of her working with the program she will be able to look at the success of the Family Dependency Court.

In the meantime, she requests to designate $2,000 from the $5,000 they already receive to go specifically toward the family program.

“Even though this program is young, I would like to give it a chance,”?Warmka says.

The board voted in favor of allowing the money allotted to be used at the discretion of the group.