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County Human Services goals outlined to board

County commissioners heard from County Human Services Director Deb Sjostrom who presented the Human Services 2018 Annual Report summary.

A video provided an overview of the various programs offered through County Human Services as well as the number of individuals receiving services through each of the programs in 2018.

This video, along with a two-page document summarizing the data, will be available through the county's website.

Discussion points included Otter Tail County receiving 1,139 reports alleging child maltreatment or welfare reports, of which 611 were opened for assessment.

Additionally, there was discussion about whether the programs are improving the lives of recipients, acknowledging that the number of individuals receiving services may increase due to the aging population.

County dock ordinance changes considered

A homeowner on Pelican Lake near Pelican Rapids asked the county board for more specification in the shoreline description, such as a more specific angle of change or degree of slope within the Otter Tail County Dock and Riparian Ordinance.

The homeowner described that the placement of a neighbor's dock last summer impacted her own dock.

County Land and Resource Director Chris LeClair and County Sheriff Barry Fitzgibbons offered assistance last summer to remedy the situation between the homeowner and neighbor.

County board discussion included possible changes to the county ordinance to address this type of issue as well as adding language that docks should be placed in the most center portion of lots.

The board did not take any action but understands the situation of the homeowner and will consider the comments made.

It was also discussed that violating the ordinance is a misdemeanor violation, but often these matters are considered a civil property dispute between homeowners and neighbors.

County board reviews concerns with the HRA

Otter Tail County commissioners discussed contradictions and ambiguities in the county's proposed contract with the Fergus Falls Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA).

Issues to be addressed include ending the contract each year on Dec. 31 (the proposed contract was for three years and eight months), determining how the hourly rate is calculated, and reviewing the contracted average hours per week for the county and the City of Fergus Falls based on 9 FTE staff.

The contract will be reviewed and revised by an attorney and reviewed again by the county board at one of its meetings in June 2019.

County Commissioner Wayne Johnson of Pelican Rapids noted there will be a Request for Proposal (RFP) for accounting services for the HRA.

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