Administration Spotlight: A Recap of 2014 and Looking Forward to 2015
The Administration Department performs several functions including the oversight of Human Resources, Safety and Risk Management, Law Library, Purchasing, and Facilities Management for the County. Additionally, the Administration Department works closely with the County Board of Commissioners to assist in the planning, development, recommendation, and implementation of County policies, procedures and budgets. The Administration Department is responsible for generating the agendas and minutes for County Board meetings and several committee meetings.
The start of a new year offers a time to reflect on the events of the past year as well as an opportunity to look forward to the prospect of a new year.
One of the major changes in 2014 was the roll out of a new Wright County website. This project began with the objectives of increasing transparency, making information easier to find, and ultimately providing better service to the public. A key component of this effort included an upgrade to the Agendas and Minutes portion of the website. This area includes an online County Board meeting calendar, upcoming Board agenda packets, which are posted weekly, and copies of past County Board meeting minutes.
County Board meetings are held most Tuesday mornings at 9:00 A.M. in the County Board Room at the Government Center at 10 2nd St. NW in Buffalo, MN. These can be watched live, via Live Streaming, which began in late 2013.
The new website also provides Human Resources the ability to post employment opportunities online. Now, applicants are able to apply for openings via the internet. Job seekers can choose to complete a job interest card to be notified of openings at Wright County.
In spring of 2014 the Parks department began taking reservations electronically through the County website. This feature was very popular with park patrons in Wright County.
Throughout the year transit was a notable topic. RiverRider ceased operations in Wright County as of June 2014.
In July, the Assessor’s Department moved to a new location within the Courthouse.
In November 2014, Commissioners Husom (District 1), and Daleiden (District 3), were re- elected along with incumbents Sheriff Joe Hagerty, Auditor-Treasurer Bob Hiivala, and County Attorney Tom Kelly.
In December, Wright County adopted a budget of $106,014,185 and a levy of $52,959,811 for 2015. This represented the culmination of the budget process that began with departments submitting budget requests in July. A series of budget meetings took place over the next several months. The preliminary budget and levy was adopted on September 30th. After adoption of a preliminary budget and levy, the budget can only decrease as outlined in state statute. The County then held an evening meeting on December 4th to discuss the proposed 2015 budget. Before final adoption, additional reductions were made based on reduced fuel costs.
For the 2015 budget, a priority was placed on maintaining the County's system of roads and catching up on projects in the 5-year plan, which had been delayed in prior years.
A variety of projects are proposed for 2015. The County is currently in the design phase for the construction of a new Public Works building. This proposal would provide a new facility for the Highway, Parks, and Surveyor departments. The Parks department plans development of additional features at the Bertram Chain of Lakes.
An ongoing project includes the continued leveraging of the County web site to provide additional services. The County is continuing investments to improve electronic document management systems, which allow for more efficient workflows as well as a reduction in paper use. Upgrades to essential software systems will be implemented in multiple departments
2015 promises to be a busy and productive year at Wright County.