Salaries up 3 percent; wind concerns aired

The Fillmore County Board of Supervisors worked on salaries for the upcoming budget year, fielded more budget requests and talked with a lawyer on wind turbine issues at its regularly-scheduled meeting last week.
This year’s salary committee of Supervisors Wade Sluka, Kenny Harre and Ralph Graham suggested a three percent merit raise for county employees based on the recommendation of each department head or elected official. Sluka noted that wages have gone up five percent the last several years to bring them up to speed.
“We have went up quite a bit in the previous two years,” he said.
A big effort has also been made to make beginning wages in the Fillmore County Roads Department more attractive. Still, times have been tough attracting roads department workers.
“If we want to hire people, we’re going to have to pay better wages,” Harre said. Harre also wants better access to employee performance information in the future.
The supervisors voted unanimously to approve the three-percent, merit-based county employee wage increases. Next, the supervisors approved three percent wage increases for the senior services director, emergency manager, noxious weed superintendent, custodian/grounds-keeper and planning and zoning administrator. The board voted 6-1 (Supervisor Mark Lightwine—no) to keep the highway superintendent’s salary the same.
John Snow with Hackstaff & Snow Attorneys was on speaker phone for about 45 minutes with the county board and Fillmore County Attorney Jill Cunningham on June 25. Snow will be working on fine-tuning the county’s Road Agreement and Decommissioning Agreements with EDF Renewables if the company’s Conditional Use Permit (CUP) is approved for its proposed nine wind-turbine project in Fillmore County.
Snow told the supervisors he would like to tighten up some time frames with hard dates in both agreements. He said, he feels stricter and stronger requirements need to be put in place. He also noted the extra large turbines that will be used in this wind project.
Graham mentioned he would like to see the decommission plan re-evaluated every five years.

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