2020 Elected salaries determined at Nobles County Commissioner meeting

WORTHINGTON - During a discussion regarding 2020 salaries of elected officials, the Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday seemed divided about how fast to move Auditor/Treasurer Joyce Jacobs and Recorder Thelma Yager up the pay scale ladder,  but eventually did agree almost unanimously on numbers.

Jacobs, who gave the commissioners a strange variety of figures during a work session several weeks ago, was asking for a 13 percent raise for 2020, citing a masters degree and 25 years of public service experience. A 7.5 percent increase at a $80,000 salary was proposed, but Jacobs asked to approach the commissioners Tuesday and cited some of her same arguments. In the hopes of getting the auditor/treasurer's salary closer to the state average, commissioners unanimously approved a 12.3 percent raise, putting her pay at $83,627.

Yager also asked to speak when the commissioners discussed her pay. She had originally asked for a salary of $67,151, which the board was ready to approve, but during the meeting Tuesday she told the commissioners she had done more research and asked for a higher compensation. On a 4-1 vote, the commissioners approved a salary of $70,512.

The lone nay vote came from Commissioner Justin Ahlers, who said the budget committee had been working with the first figure during their process.

The County Attorney salary for 2020 was set at $91,728, and the sheriff's salary at $122,420. The commissioners gave their own compensation a small bump to $20,259, leaving per diem figures intact.

In other county business, the One Watershed, One Plan was approved, which covers the Missouri River Basin, according to John Shea, the Nobles Soil and Water District Manager.

Shea said there are 14 entities involved in the plan, and they have 120 days to get approval from each of them. The next steps would be the fun part, Shea said - putting the money into the ground, putting projects into place and collaborating for clean water.

During a public hearing for a new park ordinance, one person came forward with a concern regarding still being able to use county parks for hunting and training dogs. Tom Krogman from Lismore said he is mostly familiar with Midway Park, and was worried a blanket policy that covered all parks in the county would overly restrict some activities at the more rural parks.

Parks Department Supervisor Jake Smith said their concern was safety, and that some kinds of rules were needed. He said hunting in season would be allowed, and dogs in the parks were only an issue in the crowded camping areas if a dog was unleashed and causing problems.

"As long as you're following DNR state rules, you'll be fine," Smith said.

Drainage System Coordinator Brad Harberts asked the commissioners to approve a county payment of $75 per beaver pelt in designated areas to combat a problem with beaver dams. Harberts said it is costing the county $300-$400 per dam to remove the blockage, and if the material isn't removed from the sites, the beavers just put it back. The $75 payment, which the commissioners approved, is also what the DNR pays.

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