By Ivan Raconteur
WRIGHT COUNTY, MN The Wright County boardroom was unusually full Tuesday morning as students and chaperones from across the county filed in to watch the county board in action.
The students attended a portion of the board meeting as part of the annual boy/girl county day.
The students met the county commissioners and observed part of the meeting. They also had the opportunity to ask questions before moving on to tour other parts of the government center.
The tour included stops in the courts and county attorney’s office.
The students also viewed presentations by the sheriff’s department and department heads from all county departments.
The program ended with a “where to find what” game in the government center community room.
Retirement plaque presented
County Coordinator Dick Norman presented a retirement plaque to Mary Ann Peterson who has served the county since May 7, 1986.
At that time, Peterson was the University of Minnesota 4-H activities coordinator.
In 2000, Peterson became coordinator of the new parenting through divorce program, Norman said.
He added that Peterson has been “a great resource and stabilizing force” for Wright County families over the years.
Peterson recently returned from a three-month trip to New Zealand, during which time she spoke about the parenting through divorce program.
Although retired, Peterson will continue to act as coordinator for the program in Wright County as an independent contractor.
Peterson said she feels blessed to be able to work with children and families in the county, and she thanked the board members for their support of the program.
Geologic atlas agreement approved
The board approved a proposal for the creation of a county geologic atlas.
Planning and Zoning Administrator Tom Salkowski said the county has been approached in the past by the University of Minnesota Geological Survey and the DNR, which have urged the county to contribute $80,000 to $100,000 toward the project.
Now, Salkowski said, the county is only being asked to supply in-kind labor for the project.
Salkowski said the project will make excellent use of county resources in partnership with the DNR and the University of Minnesota.
When complete, the atlas will provide a wealth of data about groundwater and wells across the county, Salkowski said.
“I think it is a great project, and the timing works out well,” Salkowski said, noting that in a busy year, county staff might not have the time to devote to this project.
Among other things, the project will include the drilling of three wells in the county to establish strong data points.
Salkowski said the project will take less than a year to complete.
Food service contract extended
The board extended the county’s jail food services contract with Aramark for three years.
During the meeting, board chair Pat Sawatzke negotiated lower pricing with the vendor.
During the first year, the county will pay $3 per meal based on a jail population of 76 to 100 inmates, rather than the proposed rate of $3.517 per meal.
In the second year, the county will pay $3.11 per meal, rather than $3.64.
During the third year of the contract, the county will pay $3.22 per meal, rather than the proposed $3.767.
“We look forward to three years of continued outstanding service,” Sawatzke said after the contract extension was approved.
Radio project update
The board authorized Bill Swing of the information technology department to proceed with requests for proposals (RFPs) related to the 800 MHz radio project.
The schedule sets a bid opening for the project Tuesday, May 19 at 9:30 a.m.
The county board is expected to award the project Tuesday, May 26.
Bid opening set
The board set a bid opening for the overhead lighting project, which includes installation of lighting at seven locations throughout the county.
The bid opening was set for Tuesday, June 9 at 9:30 a.m.