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County board gives 2 percent pay raises to all employees

A public hearing is set for Feb. 5 on a five-year Capital Improvement Plan that includes a $5.565 million renovation project for the Hubbard County Courthouse and office building.

The hearing will be held at 7 p.m. in the boardroom, in the lower level of the county office building.

A new county board made the decision to push the project forward. New commissioners Matt Dotta, Dist. 2 and Dan Stacey, Dist. 4, were sworn into office Tuesday morning. The board has moved its meetings from Wednesdays to Tuesdays.

In other business, the board:

n Established salaries for all Hubbard County department heads and non-union personnel that mirrors a 2 percent increase given to union employees.

Salaries for 2013 are as follows: County Attorney $101,430.27; Sheriff $85,028.30; Social Services Director $102,238.66; Public Works Coordinator $111,091.34; Assessor $77,726.27; Auditor/Treasurer $90,937.81; Recorder $64,373.09; Solid Waste Officer $74,562.80; Land Commissioner $66,304.37; Environmental Services Officer $68,293.47; Coordinator $74,626.24; Veterans Service Officer $45,149.94; Building & Grounds Maintenance Manager $66,947.92.

nLearned Monday's timber auction resulted in sales of $534,263.19 in tracts of wood.

n Agreed to purchase three SUVs and a sedan for the Hubbard County Sheriff's Department for a total cost of $104,514.

n Learned that income maintenance caseloads had plateaued for Hubbard County Social Services financial workers, and that intakes, the initial application for aid had decreased by 20 cases in December. Caseloads per worker are creeping back up, though.

In December 2002 eight caseworkers had an average of 167 cases. In December 2012, 11 caseworkers had an average of 231 cases.

Department head Daryl Bessler praised the Sentence to Serve program for moving his offices to their new headquarters above the county jail, a move that had to be accomplished in one business day.

Glitches still have to be ironed out from the construction project, Bessler told the board, and bathrooms on the second floor overflowed that day. The cause was not known.

Problems with the heating system were diagnosed as the wiring being backwards, Bessler said, so Hubbard County maintenance personnel are jimmy-rigging the heating and cooling until the contractor can return to establish a permanent fix.

"It's pretty insignificant stuff," newly-elected board chair Cal Johannsen said.

n Established a bridge replacement/repair priority list through 2018. If funds are available, the bridge on County Road 18 and one on 279th Avenue will be replaced at a cost of $900,000. With bonding, the local share would be $345,000 for both structures.

n Heard a status update from Department of Corrections Supervisor Marc Bloomquist. In the past, he said, as many as 67 juveniles have been placed at Northwest Juvenile Center in Bemidji. Currently Hubbard County has 33 juveniles there.

Bloomquist said the center has established 19 cognitive behavioral programs, the facility is doing pre-placement screening and more efforts are being made to keep errant juveniles in the area.

Bloomquist said more than 60 percent of all offenders have chemical dependency issues that must be addressed before they're released back into society.

Overall, he said recidivism rates locally are lower than neighboring counties because of the effectiveness of those CD programs.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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