WILLMAR — Though many counties and cities who began participating in the Minnesota Council on Local Results and Innovation comprehensive performance measurement program in 2011 have dropped out, Kandiyohi County continues to annually report its progress, both to the state and to residents.
"Most counties and cities do not do this report any more," said Larry Kleindl, county administrator at the June 16 board meeting when he gave the report to the Board of Commissioners. According to a program overview by the Office of the State Auditor, only 26 counties and 31 cities take part in the program, down from 38 counties and 113 cities in 2011.
Taking part in the program doesn't make the county rich, but it receives 14 cents per capita, not to exceed $25,000, as a benefit of participation. It is supposed to assist during some challenging budget cycles as it holds the county harmless if the state establishes levy limits.
The program was created to aid elected officials, residents and taxpayers as they determine a county's or city's efficacy in providing services and also to measure residents' opinions on those services.
The county must report annually on at least 10 different benchmarks. Kandiyohi County keeps track of 13. They range from crime levels and snowplowing to household hazardous waste collection and vehicle crashes.
"It is good to hear all the things the county is involved in and how important they are," said Commissioner Corky Berg.
In the 2019 report for Kandiyohi County, it showed that Part 1 crimes — homicide, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson — decreased to 197 from 238 in 2018, while Part 2 crimes — all others — went up to 554 from 517 in 2018.
"One went up, one went down," Kleindl said.
The county's fatal accidents and crashes that led to personal injury both went down by one in 2019 to 0 fatals and 20 personal injuries. There were total of 263 crashes on county-state aid highways, county roads and unorganized township roads, an increase over 2018's total of 205.
When answering calls of service, it took the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office approximately 8.28 minutes to respond. This is a decrease from the 8.49 minutes reported in the 2018 report.
The county also reports on the percentage of children who experience a recurrence of maltreatment within 12 months following an intervention. In 2019, 5.5 percent of those children had a repeat report of maltreatment within 12 months. That is lower than the state performance standard of 9.1 percent and lower than the state average of 6.2 percent.
"We are doing well, but even 5.5 percent is more than we want to see. The best would be zero," Kleindl said.
Fourteen percent of adults in Kandiyohi County smoke, which is one percentage point below the state average. Twenty percent of adults in the county report heavy alcohol use and binge drinking, below the state average of 23 percent. These measurements helped Kandiyohi County rank 18 out of 87 counties for health behavior measures, based on the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program.
"We have an active drug and alcohol coalition and a strong media campaign of education and awareness," Kleindl said. "That plays a role."
The program also takes a look at environmental measurements regarding household hazardous waste collection and recycling.
In 2019 Kandiyohi County collected 7,372 gallons of latex paint, 2,239 gallons of oil-base paint, 1,320 gallons of fuel and 7,255 pounds of agricultural pesticides. It also took in 143,290 pounds of electronics.
"That is great news, it is kept of of landfills, watersheds," Kleindl said.
There was also a 3,477-ton increase in residential recyclables, something the county hopes to increase again with the implementation later this year of the new single-sort recycling program.
"I think we will crush our goal on recycling this year," Berg said.
The commissioners appreciated the information presented to them and the work staff and residents do to collect it.
"This is all due to the participation of our people and also the staff," said Commissioner Steve Ahmann.