The Polk County Board of Commissioners met inside the Polk County Government Center on Tuesday morning. Commissioners Gerald Jacobson and Mark Holly were absent from the meeting, leaving Joan Lee, Gary Willhite, and Warren Strandell as the three commissioners able to vote. After the County Board Members Issue Forum, the meeting began with a Red River Juvenile Center Update from Todd Blixt of ICON Architectural group.


This past week, bids were received for the remodeling project at the Juvenile Center, and Blixt briefed the board on the bids received and recommended hiring Diversified Contractors to complete the project for $1,318,800. “I’ve worked with them on quite a few different projects, and they’ve been great to work with,” said Blixt. “We’ve had a lot of successful outcomes with them, and so I felt comfortable recommending them to the board.”

Diversified Contractors was the lowest bid, and the board approved the recommendation. The project is estimated to be complete in 210 days once it begins, and the next steps include obtaining a building permit from the state of Minnesota and starting the demo work.  


Polk County Administrator Chuck Whiting had a few items for the board, with one of the bigger ones being an update on the OSHA Vaccination/Testing Mandate. “We had a policy drafted up ready to implement, but obviously now we don’t have to,” said Whiting. “We’re still having some issues with the virus in our employee groups so that we may do some things there, but with the latest ruling from the Supreme Court, we don’t have to act on anything for the time being.”

The next item was approval from the board to fill a few positions within county departments. Whiting is looking to fill a few positions in the facility department and find a candidate for the Deputy County Administrator position. The board approved Whiting to move forward on trying to fill the positions.

Whiting also reviewed the American Rescue Plan Final Guidelines with the board. “The main thing with these changes is that they said we can consider this as an offset to lost revenue,” said Whiting. “The restrictions on what we can use it for is much less, and we still need to figure out for sure what that means. It was a lot of time spent trying to figure out how we could use the funds for the virus, and now we must figure out what it means. I will be talking with a consultant about it, but it should make our use of the funds easier.”

The last item Whiting had was setting a public hearing date for the Capital Improvement Plan. After some discussion, the board decided to table the item until the next meeting, when every commissioner can express their opinion. 


Polk County Engineer Richard Sanders was next on the agenda and had four items to cover. “The first one was a box culvert project in Grove Park, and the contractor was Taggart Contracting out of Thief River Falls. So, I just needed to bring the final voucher to the board for approval,” said Sanders. “The second one was a license renewal for a weather software that determines things like when we send out snowplows out and stuff of that nature. The renewal cost for Polk County is $3,000, and the software is called DTN. Next was our Base1 contract which is the chemical that we use to stabilize the gravel roads around the county. We currently have 150 miles that are stabilized, and we are going to do another 15 miles this summer. The cost to purchase the chemical is $138,250.”

The last resolution was a GIS Software renewal for 2022 for $40,000. According to Sanders, many departments use the software for their work. The board approved all four of Sanders agenda items.


Other items included Karen Warmack of Social Services. She two items for the board to approve. The first was an agreement with Polk County Collaborative to provide supportive services for Polk County children and families in 2022. The board approved the request unanimously. The second was a contract with HSL Consulting to provide Clinical Supervision. Clinical Supervision means the case manager oversees responsibility for individual treatment plans and individual mental health service delivery. The board approved that contract for 2022 for $4,950.

The MIS Department then met with the board to approve a County Backup Storage Appliance purchase and approval of the Justice Center Security Upgrades project. Purchasing backup storage appliances will allow for faster and more frequent backups. The board approved the purchase of the two appliances. The board also approved Bergstrom and Johnson Controls to complete the Justice Center Security Upgrades project for $26,950. The project will put in new cameras and panic buttons throughout the facility.

The next meeting will take place on Tuesday, January 25, at 8:00 a.m. inside the Polk County Government Center.