By Ivan Raconteur
WRIGHT COUNTY, MN Economic conditions have resulted in a very busy period for Central Minnesota Jobs & Training Services, according to Barbara Chaffee, chief executive officer.
Chaffee, along with members of her staff, presented an annual report to the Wright County Board Tuesday.
“This has been a year of unprecedented events,” Chaffee commented.
Nationwide, there are seven job seekers for every job opening, Chaffee said.
The problem is even worse in some areas.
She explained that 3M recently posted 42 job openings, which attracted more than 3,000 applicants.
Tony Thomann, manager of the office’s central region, said the ratio in his district is eight applicants for every job opening.
Chaffee said her staff increased from 69 to 109 to keep up with the demand for services.
The unemployment rate in Wright County reached 10.2 percent, nearly three times the 2007 rate.
Chaffee said the organization is funded by grant money, and has never had to ask Wright County for funding.
Goat barn at fairgrounds to be replaced
Safety Director Mark Nolan told the board that the roof collapsed on a 40-year-old livestock/goat barn at the Wright County Fairgrounds during the first week in March due to heavy snow.
The county submitted a claim to the League of Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust.
It was determined that the building was a total loss.
The county will receive $64,000 to replace the structure, less a $5,000 deductible.
The board authorized Commissioner Jack Russek to work with the planning and zoning department, the county coordinator’s department, and other staff as necessary to draw up specifications for the new building so that the county can request quotes for replacement.
In another matter related to the fairgrounds, the board approved a request from the Wright County Fair Board for about 1,400 cubic yards of gravel to construct an additional roadway on the fairgrounds property.
The fair board will pay for crushing and processing the gravel, and the highway department will deliver the gravel to the site.
The additional roadway is needed to accommodate the Minneapolis Moline tractor show and meeting during the fair this year. It is estimated that 250 to 400 tractors will participate.
“This is a big deal,” fair board member Ron Dehn said. He added that an additional 5,000 to 20,000 people are expected to attend this year’s fair because of the display.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• set a public hearing Tuesday, May 4 at 9:30 a.m. in the county board room regarding sheriff’s office fee schedule changes.
• awarded the county’s 2010 overlay contract to Hardrives for a total of $4,336,657. This was 6.86 percent less than the engineer’s estimate of $4,655,922. The local levy portion of the project is $550,709 less than the budget, and the state aid portion is $270,171 less than budget.
• set a committee of the whole meeting Tuesday, April 27 at 10:30 a.m. to discuss the county’s membership in the National Association of Counties, for which the dues are nearly $27,000 annually.