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Editorial: Getting aggressive on goals

Becker County has its work cut out for it — but at least it decided on that workload itself.

It will pursue a new public works facility almost immediately, and will take advantage of low interest rates to bond for highway projects.

At a Becker County Board retreat on Tuesday, commissioners set an aggressive course of action which included several construction projects, directing key staff immediately to the AIS prevention program, giving the green light to Information Technology for software enhancements, as well as breaking down department barriers and cross-training staff for better services for the public.

County Administrator Jack Ingstad said he received specific direction on the following projects:

  • Develop a critical path timeline for a new public works facility with groundbreaking by the spring of 2015.
  • Advance the county’s road plan by bonding at a low interest rate and advancing reserves.
  • Assign key county staff to prepare for AIS watercraft inspections, education and enforcement prior to an AIS\coordinator being retained.
  • Take the next steps in moving all major department accounting tasks to a centralized accounting system in order to improve financial transparency.
  • Modify the agenda review process to improve board preparation and help meet agenda deadlines.
  • Continue county-wide data sharing and cross training opportunities to improve efficiencies and reduce the need for multiple site visits.
  • Work with the county auditor-treasurer to enhance the budget development process to include all county employees.
  • Continue website enhancements to include more online applications and electronic payment for county services.
  • Continue improvements in both internal and external communications.
  • Work with the Information Technology Department to develop and implement SharePoint.
  • Recruit an emergency management director with increased hours devoted to the Emergency Management Department.
  • Move forward with media relations training for department heads and key staff.
  • Work with the EDA Board to redesign housing by mid-2015 by utilizing staff in the Human Service and Auditor-Treasure departments.
  • Assist in the coordination of various volunteer transportation programs.

The board reviewed the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis identified by department heads and agreed that the county’s greatest strengths and opportunities are its people, finances, location, compassion, recreation and technology.

Things are on track with the county, and commissioners clearly had an appetite to take care of the important bread-and-butter transportation issues.

We’d like to see commissioners take a hard look at the serious child abuse and drug problems facing the county, specifically, to find a way to keep together the seasoned, and excellent, child protection team at Human Services.

There are some serious social problems happening in the county, and sometimes some close attention and a timely investment in the right place can make all the difference.