by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
The Morrison County Commissioners approved entering into a contract with St. Cloud/Brainerd surveyor Sam DeLeo, of Kramer Leas DeLeo, Tuesday.
The county received five responses to a request for proposal. Current surveyor Kevin Festler did not respond.
DeLeo is currently in a short-term contract with the county. Among other things, he has been compiling all land records to assess what needs to be digitized for access by county offices and the public. The oldest land records date from the early 1900s, with other record books from the 1960s and onward.
All records will be scanned and ultimately filed the same as current records.
DeLeo’s short-term contract from June through the end of August, was not to exceed $15,000. The new contract will span from Sept. 1, 2013 to Sept. 1, 2014. DeLeo will be paid on an hourly basis, not to exceed $25,000.
“The service will be available when we need it, and we won’t pay for it until we need it,” said County Auditor-Treasurer Russ Nygren.
The Planning and Zoning, Auditor’s and Public Works offices project utilizing DeLeo’s services most often.
“Amy, Russ and Steve need someone to go to with questions,” DeLeo said. “Our goal is to mitigate those questions so they don’t become big issues. It maybe takes me an hour to look into it and saves them eight hours.”
“We’re trying to prevent houses being built on the wrong property,” Nygren said.
“It’s been a need we’ve talked about for a number of years,” said County Administrator Deb Gruber.
“I don’t know why Kevin’s never billed us; out of the goodness of his heart he’s answered our questions,” Nygren said. “He’s never billed us and that’s not right; we need to do it right.”
“We’re investing in how property is defined — how it’s measured and recorded,”
Gruber said. “We’re easing into things, not hiring someone full-time yet.”
DeLeo can continue to perform private surveys, not to conflict with county business, said Gruber.
“There will be a signed document for private surveys stating that I have no ties to the county for that job,” DeLeo said.
“We are trying to offer consistency, guidance and expertise,” Gruber said, “so that people have more faith in the integrity of the process.”
Other business that came before the Morrison County Commissioners Tuesday included:
• Approving a request from Social Services to fill the vacant children’s mental health case manager. “This directly correlates to a reductino in out-of-home placements,” said Social Services Director Brad Vold. “The position is almost entirely funded by third-party reimbursements;”
• Approving the sale of numerous parcels of tax-forfeited land across the county;
• Hearing a report from Public Works Director Steve Backowski regarding 27 locations throughout the county that were damaged in heavy rain, June 20. Most have been completed, but seven projects are 50 to 95 percent done and
• Appointing Joe Stumpf to be an alternate to the Morrison County Planning Commission.
The next County Board will be Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 9 p.m. in the board room of the County Government Center.