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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Polk County board notes: New website host approved, but not unanimously

  • Affeldt votes against, calling technology a 'never-ending money pit.'
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  •     During a Polk County Commissioner's meeting Tuesday, the board voted in favor of switching from the former county website host Saturn to a new host named GovOffice. For $11,000, GovOffice will completely revamp the county's website, bringing it up to current best practices for the Internet.
        The vote was not unanimous, however; Warren Affeldt of Fosston voted against the move.
        A critical aspect of the switch, commissioners said, is that a user interface will be made available, allowing specific employees to make daily updates as necessary. The previous website software did not allow for this. Changes had to be sent into the website host and took up to a month to show up on the county's website. In addition, the county was charged for each change made, continually adding to the original $25,000 investment in 2007.
        Affeldt said he voted no on principal. "In 2010, we had 469 computers. Now we have 588. We have added over 120 in two years," he said. "At this rate we'll own the fricking company. Technology is a never-ending money pit."
    More from the meeting
        •    Nancy Schafer, Polk County Emergency Management Director, spoke about the success of the CodeRED test on Monday, March 18. Area residents were telephoned on landlines and cell phones or sent text messages regarding the new system. CodeRED will contact residents when an emergency situation is eminent, including flooding, tornados, severe thunderstorms and winter storm warnings. If you did not receive a call or text, you are not currently on the CodeRED list. To add your telephone number, visit co.polk.mn.us and click on the CodeRED Weather Warning link or call Polk County Dispatch at 281-0431.
        •    Jim Atkinson, a representative from Minnesota Power's Great Northern Transition Line project addressed the commissioners regarding the potential of land in eastern Polk County housing towers to aid in providing hydro-electric power from Manitoba to the Duluth area. The goal of the project is to cut down on coal usage and focus on water, which is a renewable resource. If the 150 foot tall towers are placed in Polk County, they will generate significant tax revenue for our area. Planning for the exact route of the project will continue for the remainder of this year. Construction is set to begin in 2017.
        •    Sarah Reese, director of Polk County Public Health, discussed the intention of public health nurse Melissa Hayes to pursue nurse practitioner training. Reese referred to Hayes as a "highly valued" employee and expressed interest in keeping her on staff during her training at an as needed basis. Reese hopes Hayes will continue her employment with Polk County Health once she becomes a qualified Nurse Practitioner. In the meantime, a position will need to be filled to cover Hayes' duties as a school nurse for three school districts within the county, as well as providing immunization clinics and health screenings. Reese also discussed upcoming changes to nurse availability. More information to follow.
    Page 2 of 2 -     •    A motion was made and passed by the commissioners to direct staff to proceed with setting up a hearing regarding tax abatement on property currently owned by Bob Herkenhoff, a portion of which may be gifted to the city of Crookston to be developed into 17 residential housing lots along the east side of Barrette Street.

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