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Crow Wing County Board: Approves out-of-state travel requests

Crow Wing County Finance Director Jason Rausch makes the case at Tuesday's board meeting for county employees to travel out of state, sometimes at the county's expense. Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch

Boston trip by county employees to be paid for with county funds

Four Crow Wing County employees will travel out of state in the spring—some of whom will be making the trip on the county's dime—but it won't be all fun and games.

Finance Director Jason Rausch requested the county pay for himself and two business analysts from his department to attend a work-related conference in Boston from April 22-25.

"I can envision some people in the county saying, 'Oh, there they go again—junketing off to Boston,' so I think it would be worth our time to give us a review of that, Jason," Commissioner Paul Thiede said at Tuesday's board meeting.

The other out-of-state travel request was by Administrative Services Director Deborah Erickson, who was appointed to the Elections Assistance Commission Standards Board as the local election official appointee for the state of Minnesota.

"I think that's an honor not only to Deb but also to the county that we do have good elections," Thiede said at the meeting at which Commissioner Doug Houge was absent.

The next meeting of the standards board is Jan. 23-26 in Coral Gables, Fla., with all expenses to be paid or reimbursed by the commission, according to county officials.

The cost for Rausch and two business analysts to attend the Boston conference, however, will be in part at the county's expense, to be paid from the highway and financial services budgets.

The conference will allow them to "meet peers from across the country to exchange ideas, insights and solutions to common daily problems in their jobs" as well as interact and learn directly from the staff of Tyler Technologies, whose solutions and services the county uses.

"We've been asked by Tyler as one of 10 agencies throughout the U.S. to be an early adopter or early implementer of every new version of their software. What this allows us to do is we get to test out the software before any other entity has it loaded on their system," Rausch said.

Tyler Technologies is a leading provider of end-to-end information management solutions and services for local governments and empowers the public sector to become more efficient, more accessible and more responsive to the needs of their constituents.

"We get to work directly with those programmers, which I'm hoping will help us to get some of our ideas into their programmers' ears and onto our screens to make it even a better system for us," Rausch said.

According to the company's website, Tyler's client base includes more than 15,000 local government offices in all 50 states, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and other international locations

The county uses Tyler Munis systems modules the most in Minnesota, but highway accounting is done in multiple systems, which is inefficient, according to Rausch, so the county purchased Tyler's timesheet and work order/inventory modules to incorporate highway accounting.

"This is an ongoing challenge to try to get all of the different departments—as many as we can that don't use state-mandated software—on to one centralized package," Rausch explained.

Benefits of attending the conference, according to Rausch, include choosing from more than 60 educational sessions that highlight software enhancements, provide tips and tricks, and advanced training that will make them better in their position.

Other benefits include opportunities to network with professional peers, learn about Tyler's latest and future projects from Tyler's executives, take a test drive of the newest Tyler products in various hands-on labs and attend 15 unique classes related to work order/inventory.

"Madame chair, that's why I brought this up," Thiede told Acting Board Chairwoman Rosemary Franzen. 'I think the general public ... cannot see the impact of sending three people to Boston because we are revitalizing completely the finance and taxing system of the county."

The expected conference costs include $925 for registration, $2,715 for lodging, $1,549 for airfare, $558 for meals and $351 for transportation for a total of $6,098. In the 2018 finance and highway budgets, $4,100 and $2,000 were included for training, respectively.

Commissioner Paul Koering made the motion to approve the consent agenda's out-of-state travel requests with Thiede's support and it was passed unanimously at Tuesday's meeting.

In other business, the county board:

Approved the promotion of Richard Grundtner, community services social worker, Dillon Houde, sheriff's office correctional officer, and Ethan Wise, sheriff's office correctional officer.

Accepted the departure of Scott Bullock, land services property assessor.

Authorized entering into an agreement between the county and the Brainerd Jaycees for the

2018 $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza, effective Jan. 27 to provide onsite law enforcement services with an amount not to exceed $6,600.

Approved the new tobacco license application of Hererticks, LLC, doing business as Woodtick Inn in Cuyuna.

Approved the motorized multi-use trail permits for the Central Lakes and the Cuyuna Iron Range Riders ATV clubs, the Over-the-Hills Gang and Pine Center Sportsmen's Club.

Supported the premises gambling permit application by the Snowbird's Snowmobile Club at Big Al's Bar and Grill in Fairfield.

Authorized entering into an agreement with the Minnesota Commissioner of Transportation to act as the county's agent in accepting federal funds on the county's behalf.

Approved vacating excess highway right-of-way of County Road 142, portions of which were constructed in 1969.

Approved sponsoring a grant application by Pequot Lakes The Transportation Alternatives program, which utilizes federal transportation funding for a project identified as the Pequot Lakes Downtown Southeast Street Quadrant.

Approved final payment for County Highway 23 and County Highway 25 to Anderson Brothers Construction Co. of Brainerd for $2.89 million.

Authorized entering into an agreement between the county and Rural Minnesota CEP. Inc. to

provide services as authorized under the Minnesota Family Investment Program.

Approved the application for repurchase of forfeited lands of Rebecca Lindquist of Brainerd, Bremer Bank, and Daniel Segner of Mound.

Approved entering into an agreement for another five-year operational and funding agreement with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for the operation of the Household Hazardous Waste Management Program.

Approved authorizing the direct sale of tax-forfeited property near Depot Street and Holmes Avenue to an adjoining landowner pursuant at the sale price of $600.

Authorized entering into contracts for legal services of court-appointed attorneys with Raymond Horton for $52,000 per year and Melanie Dotty for $62,000 per year for Child in Need of Protective Services, Permanency and Termination of Parental Rights, and Child Support Contempt cases, and William O'Hara/Conrad Kragness for $60,000 per year for Commitments, including sexually dangerous psychopaths, effective Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 with the option to renew at the same rate in additional one-year increments.

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