The Rice County Board of Commissioners this morning voted 3-2 to keep $5,000 in the county budget for Prairie's Edge Humane Society of Northfield.  Commissioner Jeff Docken told fellow board members and some representatives of Prarie's Edge in the audience he simply doesn't believe it's the county's role.  Docken started with an apology to the Rice County Soil and Water Conservation District and Prarie's Edge for comments he made at the previous board meeting.  He indicated at that meeting the $5,000 could be added to Soil and Water.  "I apologize to Soil and Water and Prarie's Edge for pitting them one against the other.  That certainly was not the approach that should have been taken.  I think each outside agency should be considered on it's own and I think that's the way we have to look at things here."

Docken made it clear he believed the organization did some terrific things but said he received a lot of input from people in his district asking him if it was appropriate for the county to provide some funding.  Docken spoke with a former county board member who was on the board when they first approached the county for funding and says they felt it was indicated at the time they wanted to use the funds to start their organization and that's over 15 years ago.

Commissioner Jake Gillen said, "I've gotten more emails over a relatively small amount of money than I have since I've been sitting here for 14 years.  To be perfectly honest with you I can not believe how much support you folks have got.  It is just unbelievable."  Gillen said he would support Prarie's Edge funding.

Commissioner Galen Malecha told Commissioner Docken he was "completely wrong" about the funding and explained by eliminating the funding, "we may end up having to spend a million dollars of our own money to open up an animal shelter.  Five thousand dollars versus a million dollars is a big difference."

Commissioner Dave Miller made a motion to keep the funding in place and the vote was 3-2 with Docken and Steve Bauer voting against the motion.  Following the vote Prarie's Edge representatives in attendance applauded the vote.

Rice County Board of Commissioners. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Rice County Board of Commissioners. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

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