Monday, December 1, 2003, 8:00 a.m.

Introductions were made around the table. In attendance were the Soil and Water Commission, the MASWCD Board, DNR Program Staff, Roger Hansen of NRCS, Bob Miller of MDC, Dave Baker of University Extension, and a few soil and water district representatives.

Eli Mast and Liz Brown welcomed everyone and explained the purpose of the joint meeting.

Jim Plassmeyer reviewed information on the income and expenses of the districts for fiscal year 2003. This was the third year in a row that the total income for all districts exceeded $10 million. Sales income and machine rental income both decreased. $8.7 million went toward employee related costs. Since this information has been compiled starting in 1993, the income has increased 57% and the expenses have increased 61%. Jim showed a map that indicated by groups the amount of carryover for the districts at the end of fiscal year 2003.

Jim Boschert reviewed the staffing numbers. The number of district employees in FY-2002 was 344, in FY-2003 was 353 and in FY-2004 was 305. The higher numbers in 2002and 2003 included positions with turnover. The gross salaries paid to district employees increased 13% in FY-2002, 6% in FY-2003 and 2% in FY-2004. This information is taken from the benefit agreements signed by the districts. The average salaries compared to the amount included in FY-99 in Dr. Rikoonís research shows the following changes: District Clerk increased from $17,984.50 to $21,668.50; District Manager increased from $20,831.75 to $26,419.75; and District Technician increased from $19357 to $24010. Jim showed a chart that had these figures by area as well as type of employee. Again, this information was taken from the benefit agreements.

Jim Boschert also reviewed the benefit grant funds. Health insurance increased for FY-2004 from 13% to 45% depending on the area of the state. Peggy Lemons reported the Benefit Committee has been watching the figures and has predicted there may be sufficient funding for FY-2005, may be about $12,000 short which can be made up from unused other District Assistance funds. However, for FY-2006 and later, there is a definite need for an increase in the benefit fund to continue offering the benefits at the current policy. Ben Reed will be discussing this further with the Commission later in their meeting. Jim Boschert also stated at the Commissionís January meeting they would be discussing a possible expansion for the benefit grant for FY-06.

Noland Farmer gave an overview of the Cost-Share Evaluation Report for FY-2003. These figures do not include SALT cost-share. He reviewed the cost per ton of soil saved for FY-03 and also a 5-year comparison. He stated these numbers are not completely accurate due to limits set by the Commission and some districts. They also do not reflect the total cost paid by the landowner for the cost-share practice. He also reviewed the number of practices completed and the expenditures by practice comparing FY-02 to FY-03. The expenditure differences are very minor. A cost-share usage report for FY-04 was distributed showing allocations, obligations and amounts claimed.

Kenny Struemph gave a report on the SALT AgNPS program. He showed a map with the locations of the current SALT projects. There are currently 48 active SALTs and 3 completed ones. The 6th call for proposals has produced 28 preliminary applications. There is enough funding for 12 projects at the full amount of $750,000. He reviewed the number of cost-share claims by practice and dollars claimed. Kenny stated that management costs are about 30-35% of the funds. He stated there would be one more call for SALT proposals until the outcome of the renewal of the tax is known.

Bill Wilson reviewed the training for the Supervisor Training Conference and stated the focus this year is on planning. There are fewer workshops that are longer timeframes. The opening session is today, Monday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. The MASWCD annual meeting is Wednesday morning at 8:00 a.m. Everyone will be able to attend for the first 2 hours. The conference will end with the closing lunch.

Joint meeting adjourned at 9:00 a.m. with the Commission and MASWCD both continuing in separate meetings at 9:30 a.m.