By John Holler
Back in 1979, Minnesota counties found themselves in a quandary. They couldn’t get insurance coverage for property/casualty coverage and were forced to scramble. As a result, the counties banded together to put money into a pool and created the Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust. Now called the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust, the MCIT has been one of the most successful government programs ever.
How successful has it been? At the Nov. 20 meeting of the Wright County Board of Commissioners, the county announced that it had received a dividend rebate check of $790,653. It marked the 22nd straight year that MCIT has declared a divided to pay back its member counties. Wright County Coordinator Dick Norman said that, while the county has come to expect dividends from MCIT, they were very pleasantly surprised to see the amount of the 2012 dividend.
“We had budgeted $303,000 in anticipated dividend, even though MCIT doesn’t guarantee that there will be a dividend,” Norman said. “We arrived at that figure because it was the amount of the dividend we received last year. We were extremely happy to see that the dividend this year was almost $490,000 more than what we projected.”
The success of MCIT was far from assured when it began in the late 1970s. In fact, counties were forced into collaborating to create the trust because they had no other options.
“MCIT started because private sector insurance companies quit offering insurance to counties,” Norman said. “There were concerns that the cost of insuring counties for property/casualty coverage was too high and counties were forced to come up with an alternate solution. The reason it has been so successful is that MCIT has been very proactive in training programs to increase safety and the results have followed.”
The overall dividend for the MCIT was $29.9 million. In its history, MCIT has issued more than $259 million in dividends.
In other items on the Nov. 20 agenda, the board:
APPROVED a request from the highway department to advance encumber $3.1 million from the state in highway construction funding money to meet the costs of projects scheduled for 2013.
SCHEDULED the 2012 Employee Recognition Ceremony for 10 a.m. at the March 19, 2013 board meeting. The annual ceremony honors employees who are celebrating employment anniversaries in five-year increments, as well as spotlighting employees for individual and group achievement.
AS part of the approval of the county’s revised fees for service schedule, accepted a document that highlights why the fees that were approved were set. Many of the fees were determined by the county board, but several were guidelines set forth in state statutes, as well as some license fees that are set by federal guidelines.
SET a public hearing for 9:30 a.m. at the Dec. 11 board meeting to discuss a proposal to amend the county’s water surface use ordinance. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has request a modification to the county’s Slow/No-Wake Ordinance on Lake Ann. As part of the hearing, residents on Pleasant Lake have petitioned that it be included in the county’s water surface ordinance.
AUTHORIZED payment of $8,196 to the consulting firm of Madden, Galenter & Hansen for labor negotiating work performed for the county in September.
APPROVED a request to expand the data/voice room in the Human Services Center. The cost of the expansion is estimated at $4,769 and will be funded out of the building maintenance/repair budget.
APPROVED signatures on a labor agreement with Teamsters Local 320, non-licensed essential unit on a two-year union contract.
AUTHORIZED payment of $1,488 to the firm of Coleman, Hull & van Vliet for mediating a settlement in a lawsuit that had been brought against the county
SIGNED documents with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency needed for the cities and townships to access money from the MPCA in the form of loans to fund projects to improve water quality or to control/abate water pollution.